System moving to the Bahamas

The National Weather Service in Key West created this graphic to show the amount of rainfall in 36 hours from May 14 through midday on May 15. CONTRIBUTED

Turn off the sprinklers. 

Through tomorrow, the Keys will continue to see more rain as a system moves from west to east across the Keys headed for the Bahamas. Once it gets to the Northern Bahamas, there’s an 80% chance it will turn into a tropical or subtropical storm. The good news is that the system will continue to head northeast, according to weather experts, and things will normalize in the Keys.

“Going forward there will be less rain and the wind will come down,” said Weather Service Office of Key West’s Jon Rizzo. “It’s going to get warm and steamy again.”

Over 36 hours ending on May 15 at about noon, Marathon received the most rain — almost 6.5 inches, followed by Lower Matecumbe Key with 5.25 inches, Ramrod Key with 4.6 inches and Big Pine Key with 4.2 inches.

That’s in marked contrast to the month of March. In Key West, it was the third hottest March on record, and the sixth driest. In Marathon, it was the second hottest and the third driest.  

According to Monroe County, there are no special conditions caused by the recent rains. In the City of Marathon, utility employees were working overtime to deal with flooding.

“The good news is that the pumps we installed at the corner of Washington and Tuskegee streets in Marathon worked well,” said Utility Director Dan Saus. “It used to be that area would be flooded for weeks after a rain like this.”

Hurricane Irma, the storm itself and the ensuing cleanup, damaged many lateral wastewater lines on private property. Cracked pipes allow standing rainwater to seep into the sewer system. And, according to Saus, some homeowners have wrongly tried removing the cap of the “candy cane” to allow standing water outside the home to drain. Doing so can make it impossible not only for the homeowner to flush the toilet, but also his or her neighbors. 

“Our wastewater system is not made to take in stormwater,” Saus said. 

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