May 21, 2019

"Soaking in" season

The term "wet season" is a meteorological term ...

Referring to south Florida's summer "rainy half."

Bar chart showing combined May and June rainfall from 1990 to present.  The long-term average is 13 inches.  Last year we got 16 inches of rain, most of it in May, and the year before that 25 inches, the majority of that in June.

But before the sheet flow can spread out far and wide.

The swamp sponge needs to fill up.

That's where May and June rains come in.

May 20, 2019

Deepest "lake?"

By most metrics,

Deep Lake should be called a pond.

Deep Lake drops
down 90 feet

Consider that it's only 300 feet across.

And it's circumference is 300 feet less a quarter mile.

Case closed?

Well, maybe not.

Also consider, not only is not surrounded by a levee ....

It's five times deeper than Lake Okeechobee at its deepest spot!

May 19, 2019

Sign in the trees?

I knew I wasn't lost.

As for the turkey vultures ...

Can you see the turkey vultures?

They weren't so sure.

And they gave me pause to think:

How about now?

Did they know something I didn't?

That's when I knew it was time to head back.

May 17, 2019

How to: Not get lost

First thing you do ...

Is look for the moss on the north side of the tree.

As seen in the center
of a cypress dome
earlier in April

Or in this case, lichen as it were.

And for the record, I already knew my way out.

That helped the most.

Lake o' decades

Lake level doesn't just change year to year ...

There are also clear decadal trends.

Animated hydrograph showing decadal
trends in Lake O stage

The 1990s was the "high water" decade.

And the 2000s was a decade of "drought."

Not sure what to call our current decade.

Maybe the decade of "levee repair."

May 16, 2019

To climb a levee

Some people aspire to ...

Hike Lake Okeechobee's entire perimeter levee, 143-miles long.

Nearing the top

Looking to the west

I made it!

Looking back down
to the south
I was happy to make it to the top.

Forty feet high!

May 15, 2019

Lake level under debate

The last time Lake O was this low (in May 2017) ...

Just four short months (Oct 2017) it rose a whopping 6 feet.

Lake stage over the past two years
relative to major ecological, operational
and statistical thresholds.  

Lake stage is currently about 2 feet below normal for Mid May ...

And 2 feet above its record low.

A historical view of Lake
stage from 1970 to present
using the same color code
as the above hydrograph

In sum, the Lake goes up and down,

As predicated by nature and operations of levees, gates, pumps and canals.

Currently its operation is under review ...

By way of the Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual (LOSOM).

May 14, 2019

Levees at work

What might look like "just a canal,"

Also has a double levee, one on both banks.

View of Alligator Alley
and the L-28 Interceptor
looking south

This feature has historically funneled water down the side ...

Instead of letting it loose in the middle of the swamp.

View of Upper Wagon Wheel Road
looking West, June 2017

Then there's the case of the three-mile levee ...

That pools water to the north.

Levees at work, boxing out the swamp.

May 13, 2019

Road on a levee (with bridges)

Not to be confused with a hiking path,

The Tamiami Trail is a road first.

Can you see the levee
and bridge?
And probably a levee second.

Not that the Trail completely cut off the swamp.

Its bridges are spaced about every mile apart.

Flip side of 70

In addition to being the bellwether of summer,

Seventy is also the standard bearer for measuring winter severity, too.

Chart showing "days of winter"
in Naples, FL from 1970 to present

Only instead of using the nightly low,

Winter is measured as the number of days that the daily high temperature doesn't rise above the 70° F mark.

On average, Naples registers 18 such days each winter.

This winter we beat that mark by two.

Not that you can call those days "winter" (by strict definition of the term), although at times I did have to don a scarf, if that counts.

May 11, 2019

Bellwether of summer

If there is a bellwether of summer in south Florida ...

It might be 70 degrees.

Daily high and low air temperatures
for Naples Florida compared to the long-term
normal and extremes

That's the (nighttime) temperature ...

Above which the afternoon cumulonimbus clouds start to rise.

And yes, also let loose their buckets of rain.