May 15, 2011

Okeechobee x 100 = Mississippi

Hydrologists are always getting lost in the numbers.

That’s why I like to simplify the math by computing the Mississippi’s giant flow rates into Lake Okeechobee equivalents instead.

To date, the Mississippi had discharged around 30 full-sized (i.e. 5 million acre feet worth) Lake Okeechobees into the Gulf. But keep in mind that except for the recent flood pulse it’s been a relatively low-flowing first half of the year. So that number will start to grow fast in the weeks ahead.

On average the Mississippi averages around 60 Okeechobees per year.

Who needs a computer when you can calculate in Lake units instead?

Big flow years can push its total up to 90 Okeechobees (and over.) This year could rival or exceed the 110 Okeechobees of the epic flood year of 1993 when it’s all through.

And don’t count on the dead zone to be small either.

The gulf just can't catch a break!

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