Published: May 04, 2011 11:24 PM EDT
Updated: May 04, 2011 5:59 PM EDT

Hot and dry.  That's the prediction for the next few weeks for southwest Florida.   The National Weather Service in Miami is warning:   the rainy season may start slowly, with much-needed heavy rains coming later in summer.    It means wildfire threats could linger into June.

"That really is our concern, that it's going to take a lot of rain to replenish the water tables in Collier County and around lake Okeechobee.  Those are the driest spots in a very dry area, and a dry period that goes back to last October first," said Robert Molleda, meteorologist with the National Weather Service. 

Molleda and the So. Fl. Water Management District held a joint news conference in Miami to talk about the drought and the predictions for the wet season. 

Homeowners like Gloria Chaconas of Cape Coral are waiting for rain.   Her grass is brownish, and she says some new plantings died in the heat of March and April.   "It is very dry and it hurts me to see the yard look so poor.   But we just have to wait for the rains.   I fear it could be awhile," she told WINK.

Water managers have imposed restrictions on watering lawns and landscaping.  Homeowners can water no more than 2 days a week, and only on certain hours of the day.    Managers say they have no plans now to tighten the restrictions, but that always is a possibility in a period of severe to extreme drought.