Friday, May 20

Does Jacksonville Get Double The Rain of Central Florida?

Total yearly rain Jax

I've heard the assertion twice (from people in The Villages) that Jacksonville gets double the rain of Central Florida. Or at least twice the opportunity for rain. It made sense to me (sort of), since we sometimes get rain that comes across the Panhandle and we also get the daily summer rain like Orlando. But is it true, or is this something realtors in The Villages tell people to keep them away from the slightly better climate (ie seasons) and actual beaches in Northeast Florida? It's a question that retirees comparing The Villages and communities in the Jacksonville area might want to take into consideration. The answer is that it's kind of true and kind of not true, but not for the reasons I'd assumed. 

My hypothesis was that Jacksonville would probably have more total rain than The Villages, partially because it would have way more total days with at least some precipitation. The reasoning here is that since we get both storms that cross the country AND daily summer rain, we'd have more rainy days, which should lead to more total rain. I found that Jacksonville, on average, has a lot more rain than The Villages (51 inches versus 42 inches). That's nine inches more rain per year. Or close to 20% more rain. So one part of my hypothesis is correct.
Total yearly rain the Villages

However (and this is kind of strange), when you look at total days that had more precipitation than 0, then Jacksonville has fewer days with measurable rain than The Villages:

Jax days with rain

days with rain in the Villages

Jacksonville generally gets 110 days with precipitation, while The Villages has 121, and it happens with one more day per month, not all at one time (like a rainy season would be). For comparison, Milwaukee (my hometown), has 124 days with some kind of precipitation, including snow, sleet, freezing rain, cold November rain, groppel, and other cold forms of water. Seattle, which is known for rain, gets 165 days of rain every year, which is nearly half of the days of the year, and way more than Jax. Phoenix, on the other hand, has 33 days with rain. 

I tried to tell if lighting strikes might indicate that Jacksonville simply gets more storms while The Villages just has more rainy days, but lightning strikes don't seem to be much different. One source I read showed Tampa as #1 in the country, Jacksonville at #9, and Orlando at #14. Since The Villages is kind of between Orlando and Tampa, its lightning strike totals ought to be somewhere in between, like Jacksonville. It's also worth noting that one online source shows Jax as the top Florida city for lightning. Also, Lakeland, Cape Coral, Hialeah, West Palm Beach, Pembroke Pines, Miami Gardens, and plenty more, have more lightning strikes than cities in other states. Basically, I don't think it matters where you live in Florida if lightning is your kryptonite. 

But the rain was surprising to me. If you're considering retirement in Florida, The Villages would be free of most hurricane activity and torrential rains, resulting in 20% less rain than in Jacksonville. However, if you want fewer total days of rain (potentially more days on the golf course or shopping at Nordstrom's), then Jacksonville might be a better fit. Also, if you want a Nordstrom's, Ethan Allen, Louis Vuitton, Dillard's, a Rolex store, or various other high-end shopping spots, then you might consider a larger metro than The Villages, though I did see there's a Costco coming soon. And if you're into the fish game arcades that some Florida counties have, we've done away with them in Duval. 

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