Nov 4, 2013

Rainless but not parched

It hasn't rained in south Florida for a good month ...

But don't equate that with being dry.

Drought is a confusing word in south Florida.  Usually it describes atmospheric patterns.  For example, South Florida has a seasonal (i.e. winter) drought, but it isn't usually until spring that the landscape starts to dry up and become -- and here's the word I like much better -- PARCHED.  The above graph describes parchedness for various parts of south Florida (as based on wetland water depth).

South Florida's wetlands hold water.

That means the Everglades and Big Cypress ecosystems are still mostly soggy and wild land fire risk is still very low. With water in the low spots and not much lightning in the forecast, wildfires have a low chance of getting started and even a lower chance of finding a way to spread.


It isn't until water levels drop down into the tortilla and popcorn level that the parchedness (and high fire risk) settles in.

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