Jul 26, 2017


I was amazed to see how much water ...

Was flowing down the State Road 29 canal earlier today.

Water flowing south in the SR29 Canal
near Bear Island Grade

Unfortunately, none of that water finds its way

Under the bridges (see photo below) into the Panther Refuge ...

Or downstream from there into Fakahatchee Strand.

These bridges "look big" but
they convey little (if any) water
into the Panther Refuge (left),
looking North

The reason?

Of course the canal is the easiest path (i.e. water's easiest route) ...

And as a result bypasses the swamp.

Jul 25, 2017

Delayed flood?

Despite a bit of a dry spell in recent weeks,

Loop Road just now over topped (in a few spots).

Looking West down Loop Road
about five miles from 40 Mile Bend

The reason?

No, this isn't a delay in water transport that finally struck south.

Video of S-343B from earlier today


It's the result of three upstream gates (along the L-28) being opened up to relieve flooding in Water Conservation Area 3A.

Jul 24, 2017

Florida's four meteorological horsemen

Can you hear the apocalyptic atmospheric stampede?

Not to worry -- the world is not coming to an end.  That's just one of Florida's four horsemen -- after months being stuck in the stable -- finally returning to the sky.

Storms roll across the Florida peninsula
like a stampede of wild horses

Who exactly are the Four Horsemen you may ask?

  • The first is our old faithful of the summer: the Enhanced Sea Breeze. I’m not talking your any day old run of the mill sea breeze. This is the one that, with a little help of upper level atmospheric instability and a Gulf flyover of a deep dipping Jet Stream – two factors that puts extra wind behind the sails of the sea breeze, creates our gargantuan Kilimanjaros rising out of the Everglades and the famed morning showers offshore of Miami.
  • The second horseman is the Continental Front. The thunderous squadrons of clouds that they bring, often leaving cold air in their wake, are typically a dry season event. But they’re not unheard of in the early summer season. That’s what makes June such a critical rainfall month for south Florida. Lingering springtime instability up on the continent – both in the upper and lower atmosphere – juices the early part of the rainy season, from Memorial Day to Forth of July. Once July roles around, a more homogeneous air mass takes hold across the southern peninsula. Trade winds blowing due east off the Bermuda High become the prevailing wind pattern.
  • It’s the Bermuda High that paves the path for the third horseman, and the scariest: the Cape Verde. These are the mammoth hurricanes that spawn off the coast of Africa, and head west around the perimeter of the Bermuda High. This one packs the full punch – horizontal rains, instantaneous – if only momentary – sea level rise, and tree-toppling winds. And this is no sucker punch – it broadcasts its potential fury days in advance, but it keeps its exact landfall a secret until the day approaches, and I use the term “day” only in calendar sense, because once the Cape Verde stampedes to shore, it turns daylight into night, other than a brief glimpse of daylight at its eye. That’s its prelude to the second half of its 1-2 punch, more commonly known as its knock out blow.
  • The fourth horseman is the Tropical Tempest from the Gulf and from the Caribbean. Usually not as scary as the Cape Verde, they play a prominent role in the early and late part of the hurricane season. Don’t be overly concerned with the magnitude of these, because even a disorganized wave of tropical moisture can give us the coveted BRD – Big Rain Day, as coined by the District’s Meteorology team. In technical terms, that's a sFL-wide daily rainfall total of more than 1 inch. Geoff Shaughnessy tells me we need 6 BRDs to keep the annual water coffers filled.

You can hear and see them
coming from miles away

Florida’s four meteorological horsemen are each ominous in their own way, but after a long dry season their hooves, too, are music to water managers' ears.  Finally, aquifers and wetlands can start to refill.

But come high water the same horsemen are cause for concern.

That’s the thing about the horsemen:

They are a wild breed.  Yes, you can tame the landscape upon which they roam with levees and canals only so much.  The horsemen in their full fury have a reputation of running roughshod over civilizations carefully laid plans.

In 1990 Lely Development Corporation commissioned
five 1 1/4 life sized running horses for the entrance to their luxury country club community in Naples, Florida.

But mostly the four horseman are fun to watch (and hear) from a distance.

Just be sure to take good cover when they run near.

Jul 19, 2017

River whereabouts

Thanks to early June rains ...

Turner River stage rose 5 feet.

Turner River stage over the past couple months compared to the long term-average and navigability thresholds (i.e. canoes/kayaks)

A month later it's dropped a foot and a half ...

But it's still tracking at the long-term "normal" summer peak.

Jul 11, 2017

Two hydrologists with one storm

Sometimes I get more rain than I bargain for:

One storm at work mid-day ...

Summer storms in the swamp
move from East-to-West

And then another on the ride home into town.

Jun 29, 2017

End of boardwalk

Center thalweg of Kirby Storter
Strand (foreground) looking North across
Tamiami Trail

Reserved parking?

Among other things, this photo shows:
  • Kirby Storter Strand,
  • Kirby Storter Boardwalk,
  • Water pooling on north side of Tamiami Trail,
  • Beautiful Big Cypress Nat'l Preserve, and
  • An empty parking lot.

As seen looking North last week

Parking of course is free.

I'm guessing it's the mosquitoes that are chasing everyone away.

Jun 28, 2017

Source of the river?

The pools at the headwaters of the Turner River ...

Are are actually described as a terminus (from a navigational sense).

View of Turner River where it crosses
the Tamiami Trail looking Northeast.

Turner River Road is in the background.

It's source is the swampy watershed that surrounds it on all sides.

Thanks to installation of new culverts under Turner River Road with the help of Collier County, the Florida's Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC's) Aquatic Habitate Restoration/ Enhancement (ARHE) program, and the South Florida National Parks Trust (SFNPT) the river's "water source" has been expanded.

Water trap

Two roads meet in a swampy wood ...

Behind which, after times of abundant rainfall, water collects.

View of Tamiami Trail (in foreground)
looking North at Turner River Road.

Can you see the Turner
River's headwater pools?

This year that pool of water behind the Tamiami Trail (foreground) actually back flowed in a northward direction (i.e the wrong way) until it found the southern most culverts under Turner River Road (background) and continued its journey East.

Funny things happen when you get 15 inches of rain in one day.

Jun 27, 2017

Don't blame the rain!

The only antidote to too much rain ...

Is letting it spread out.

Otherwise it piles up in one spot.

Of course that's easier said than done.