Jan 19, 2012

Return of the swamp years!

What’s my favorite swamp year on record?

Here’s an animated hydrograph that displays the past eleven.

The water cycle rarely repeats the same year


The summer of 2005 really jumps out in my mind.

That wet season started fast out of the gate with +20 inches of June rain and it ran strong through the fall with a hurricane season that just wouldn’t die. And who could forget Fay in August of 2008. It soaked the entire state (except Tampa) from head to foot and inundated the swamp well up into the pines.


Also memorable was the epic winter deluge in February of 2008.

It flushed water well up into the marl prairies in what had appeared, up until that point, to be an early and deep dry down towards spring. The flood waters were all the more ostentatious because the ground vegetation in the prairies was thin and dormant in its threadbare winter state.

Sweetwater went dry in spring of 2009 and 2011:
Could this year be a repeat?

Nor will I soon forget seeing one of the swamps deepest spots, Sweetwater, go bone dry in May of 2009 and (again!) in spring of 2011.

I walked through a culvert to make sure it still worked.


How does this winter rate?

Atmospherically it’s been dry and warm, but the swamp has stayed soggy as far into fall as we’ve seen it since 2005.

The swamp peaked high in October.
How low will it drop this spring?

We knew the water from the October rain couldn’t last forever.

Three months later we're overdue for another shipment from the sky (in the form of a continental front) if we don’t want to see another dry spring.

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