Sep 27, 2011

Good news first!

First the good news:

Lake Okeechobee has risen above 11 ft!

Here's the two-year hydrograph,
(20 year statistics color-coded in back.)

Lake Okeechobee is only partly lake.

The interior portion of its levee also contains wetlands, but so long as Lake stage stays below 11 ft they stay dry.  As shown on the hydrograph above, i.e., the orange band, waters have now risen into the green "littoral zone" for the first time since the end of April. That put this year's dry spell streak at 150 days compared to 511 days for the lake stayed below the 11 ft line just a few years back in 2007-2008 (see extended hydrograph below.)

Here's the fifteen-year hydrograph.

High water was the problem from 2002-2006,
but in recent years it's been drought.

Now for the bad news:

That still puts the lake stage at 4.5 feet below the twenty-five year median for late September and -- gasp! -- the wet season is about two weeks from drawing to a close.

Not counting Tropical weather.

The upcoming dry season could be a doozy!


Janie said...

That doesn't bode well for the dry season.

j.a.lauritsen said...

Nor for wood stork nesting in South Florida. Storks tend to be more productive when they initiate nesting early, which consequently is tied to peak water levels at the end of the rainy season. Over the 50+ years on record, the stork colony had never missed 2 breeding season in a row at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, until the 2008 season. If they fail to nest at Corkscrew again this year, it will mark the 5th such event in the past 6 years. Given the wood storks status as an indicator of wetland health, this is not a rosy endorsement for the SWFL environment.