Mar 11, 2014

Don't believe what you see (yet)

Here's a snapshot of atmospheric drought levels across Florida.

First glance suggests that south Florida is most dry.

The chart above provides a summary of the Keetch Byram Drought Index for major subregions of Florida.  The pitch black arrow shows the current reading, the dark gray arrow for a month ago, the light gray arrow for a year ago and the dotted red line for the long-term average for today.  KBDI readings for Collier County have risen from the 100s to the 500s in a one month span.  Compare that to the Panhandle that has dropped from the 300s to practically zero (full saturation) in the same time span.

But in south Florida we can't judge drought by the sky alone.

We also have to factor in surface water supplies on the ground.


Thus south Florida isn't as dry as it seems ...

Because we still have water on the ground (in the domes, strands and marshes, i.e. the natural fire breaks). However, that water doesn't last all spring.  Without a timely continental front or good dousing from the gulf, the swamp can dry up into a tinderbox quick.

Compare that to the Florida panhandle which is currently very wet.  It's current Keetch Byram Drought Index (KBDI) is as low as the scale goes -- zero. The panhandle in contrast to the south peninsula lies in the cross hairs of frequent cross-continental spring storms.

The maps above show atmospheric drought levels across south Florida for today, a month ago, a year ago, and the long term average for today.

Recommendation:

Don't believe the dry values for south Florida ... yet. 

(Let's check back in a month).

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