Aug 30, 2014

High-ground hammock

Yes, it's dry down there,

 But also full of mosquitoes, too.

Panthers like to den
in places like that

Hammocks are the highest natural areas in the swamp.

Labor Day Retreat?

This country retreat is located in the middle
of the scenic Big Cypress Swamp, a good
ten miles from the nearest road.

Aug 28, 2014

Florida Groundhog Day

South Florida doesn't have a winter, therefore by definition it can't have a Groundhog Day?

Or is it just hiding in plain sight instead?

Is that a cloud ... or Giant Groundhog?

Groundhog Day on the continent is a celebration that celestial winter is half way done. By contrast in south Florida we are content to never let winter never end.

Our summer on the other hand is another story.

What continental transplant (me included) hasn't at some point during Florida's unending summer craved a little dose of fall air, especially come Labor Day when friends and relatives from "up state" and "off peninsula" are just beginning to rejoice in the first of many rounds of crisp autumnal air. Meanwhile down on the south peninsula we are left to sweat out another six weeks of Old Man Summer. It usually isn't until Mid October that finally (and at long last) a cold front blasts through.

In my mind that's what makes Labor Day South Florida's Groundhog Day equivalent.

Only south Florida's groundhog doesn't emerge from ground to look for his shadow: It appears as giant cloud (see photo above) ...

Casting a shadow on us instead.

The Meaning of Labor Day in Florida

Answer: See above

Aug 27, 2014

Temporary repreive

Just when I thought there was no relief to the humidity in sight,

Up spins a storms off the Florida east coast.

That pumped in dry(er) wind across the peninsula from the Northeast,

And dropped the dew point a couple points, too.  Those northeast winds can repress the normal afternoon thunderstorm cycle, too.

Storms moving north off the Gulf Coast of Florida do just the opposite:

Bringing up super saturated tropical air from the south.

Aug 25, 2014

Cold air isn't even close!

Fall hits the panhandle first (Oct 15th)

And Key West last, if at all.

This animated map shows the arrival
of average nighttime lows dropping
below 60 degrees.

The metric used in the map is arrival of average nighttime low temperatures dropping below 60° F.  Usually we get our first cold front before that in Naples Florida (Collier County) but it isn't until Thanksgiving that average nighttime lows finally dip below 60° F.  That's a far cry from up north of the continent where in many areas Labor Day marks the start of fall.

On the bright side at least we don't have to wait to the New Year!

When does fall arrive?

Great news, Florida:

Fall has arrived!

The animated graphic above shows an air temperature comparison for Tallahassee and Naples, Florida.  Blue bars indicate high and low daily air temperatures from May through August.  The red bars are the high and lows forcasted for this coming week.  The background white and gray coding show the long-term average and historic record high and lows. Tallahassee is on the brink of cooler temperatures moving in.  As for Naples, it still has another month to wait.

But only for continental-hugging north Floridians.

South Florida has another month wait.

Aug 24, 2014

Giant dragonfly?

Do you see the dragonfly on the left?

I'm guessing its a hundred feet away and 20 feet long.

As seen on Tamiami Trail
near Kirby Storter looking east

Or it could be right in front of me and maybe two inches.

Aug 23, 2014

Source of Gator Hook Strand

What happens to the rain drop that falls into the rain gage at Big Cypress Nat’l Preserve’s Oasis visitor center?

That’s a bit of a sad story:

It gets lost to science by tilting the teeter totter on the inside of the rain gage, (for every one tenth of an inch of rain that falls on it).

How about the rain drops a half mile away into Gannet Strand?

Now that’s a little more of an adventure.

The short answer is it finds its way into Gator Hook Strand, within which it rides down into the 10,000 Islands estuary, (as shown in the video below).


That’s assuming evaporation or a canal doesn’t get it first!

Aug 22, 2014

Swamp fed estuary

Where is this strand going?

You can see it as a shimmering sliver of blue in the background.

Here's the look south towards
the undeveloped coast

It's called the Ten Thousand Islands coast.

The strand is called Gator Hook.

Where fresh and saltwater
make a brackish water mix.

Farther upstream it crosses under Loop Road,

About 2 miles north of Sweetwater.

Farther north this is where the freshwater
sheet flow gets its start

Here's a look at where
the photos were taken on a map

Aug 21, 2014

Estuary bound!

The Big Cypress Swamp
feeds freshwater downstream into the
Ten Thousand Islands estuarine coast

Aug 20, 2014

Over drained

Yes, water has a mind of its own,
But what it's thinking at any one moment is easy to guess:

"Go Downhill!"

Looking downstream (west)
from the canal's perspective
The tricky part is trying to figure out which direction that means.

What makes that so hard you may ask? One, the swamp is very flat by nature to begin with and two, there are new hills (roadbeds and levees) and valley (canals) that, from the perspective of water, have changed the lay of the land.

Looking downstream (south)
from the strand's perspective
That leaves us with a modern-day case of conflicted water:

Instead of going straight south (above), some of it turns right (west) into the Tamiami Canal.

The solution is to sequentially add plugs along the canal's entire length.