Published: Mar 02, 2011 9:06 PM EST
Updated: Mar 02, 2011 6:06 PM EST

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A broad swath of central and South Florida has capped its driest few months in nearly 80 years.

The South Florida Water Management District says its area of oversight - 16 counties from Orlando to Key West - got less rain from November through February than any other year since it started keeping records in 1932.

February was particularly dry for the region, with only about one-third of an inch of rain recorded.

Since October, the water management district has recorded rainfall at about half the average level.

Officials are hoping for some showers in the coming weeks and a wetter summer rainy season.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)