Sep 30, 2014

Journey into (and out of) a cypress dome

Approaching the dome

Entering the dome

Looking at the pool in the center of the dome
where it's too deep to walk

Leaving the dome

Looking back at the dome

Sep 29, 2014

Can you see the dome?

Shallowly-flooded marl prairie
in late September

Cold air "mirage?"

Come October, South Floridians eagerly await the first sign of cold air.

Could it be that it already stealthily arrived in September?

This chart reports daily "high and low" air temperatures for the long-time weather station at Naples Airport.  The blue bars indicate verified data and the red bars indicates the forecast for this week.  The background gray coding shows the long-term average and record daily highs and lows.

Not quite:

What looks like cooler daytime temperatures on the daily temperature chart above is actually just an affirmation of what anybody who lives in southwest Florida (and regularly looks outside their window) already knows: It's been cloudier than normal in southwest Florida. And rainier, too.

But not less humid!

Conclusion: The summer slog continues.

Sep 28, 2014

Shallow and high?

Shallow water in the pine lands
means the center of the cypress domes
area a good 2-3 feet deep.

Sep 27, 2014

County pride

There's always a sense of satisfaction,

When I re-enter my home county (Collier) after a long drive.

Looking south into Collier County

In this case I stopped to take a photo to celebrate.

It was only then, turning back, that I noticed the gargantuan and conspicuously better "Welcome to Hendry County" sign going the other way.  At that point I sort of slunked back into my vehicle and as inconspicuously as possible drove into my home turf.

Same spot looking north into Hendry County

A mile down the road I turned around and could still see the sign.

Sep 26, 2014

Smokey knows best

Great job, Smokey!

I couldn't have said it
better myself.

Big rain month proves elusive

Where have the Big Rain Months gone?

This wet season has notably produced none.

The chart above shows monthly rainfall totals across south Florida, as computed by SFWMD, from 2005 to present.  Wet and dry seasons are easy to see.  Any month in which over 9 inches of rain is recorded on average across all of south Florida is a Big Rain Month.  Any month that produces less than an inch across south Florida falls in Drought Month territory.

The result is that this year's wet season rain totals are down.

Last wet season we had two consecutive Big Rain Months in June and July. The year before, Isaac propelled August 2012 into the airy Big Rain Month realm. And then the year before that in 2011 we had a relatively rarer (but always welcome - barring the winds) Big Rain Month October. What is a Big Rain Month you may ask? Formal Definition: A Big Rain month is when more than 9 inches of rain on average falls on all of south Florida, from the Kissimmee down to the Everglades and on both coasts.

Basin by basin wet season totals are shown in the table below.

Sep 25, 2014

Seasonal rain deficit?

The water year is split in two in south Florida:

A summer wet and a winter dry season.

The table above provides a summary
of wet and dry season rainfall totals
over the past few years.

With a few days of September left and the "iffy" month of October (i.e. some years it rains other years it doesn't), this wet season is adding up to be noticeably drier than the previous two.  Leading with way is the Lower Kissimmee Basin with 37 inches. The East Caloosahatchee Basin is lowest on the totem pole with only 30 inches of wet season rainfall.  South Florida wide around 34 inches of rain have fallen.

That's about 9 inches off the past two wet seasons total.

Sep 24, 2014

Swamp ladder

Can you see the water in each photo?

From top to bottom (and shallowest to deepest), this photo collage shows late September water levels in a pine island (3 inches deep), a marl prairie (10 inches deep), a cypress dome (1.5 ft deep), a pond apple forest (2.3 ft deep) and a refugia pool (??? - probably 4-5 ft deep). 

Sep 23, 2014