The graph above shows water depth in Big Cypress National Preserve from June through March. That’s the 10 months of the year when you’ll see water in the preserve’s wetlands.
The white line shows the 5-year average.
It isn’t until the start of July that, on average, water levels rise up into the wet prairies. That’s where water needs to rise to for the fabled sheetflow season to begin sheet-flowing in earnest, and that lasts for around 6 months or so thereafter, ending typically around December.
And it isn’t until the start of August that the wetting front creeps its way up to the shores of the pine flatwoods.
It stays at or above that height for around 3 months of the year.
And keep in mind that some of the “higher” pinelands and hammock never get wet during the typicaly wet season: thus the name pine islands.
The wetting front recedes out of the pinelands in November, but that of course can vary depending on when, if, and how much rain comes up out of the Tropics.
When do water levels crest?
That would be around mid September, on average. After that they begin their slow recession back down toward the aquifer.
Years of note?
Notice in 2005, after 20 inches of June rain, that July started with the wetting front well up into the pinelands. Compare that to 1998, which was a very wet spring (an El Nino), but whose wet season started with a sputter. Water levels didn’t rise into the wet prairies until the middle of August. That was a wretched mosquito year. Or 1995 when water rose high enough in mid October to shallowly stream across the road around 40 Mile Bend, not too far from the Everglades proper.
How about 2008?
Water levels are still “soaking in” below land surface.
This graph will be fun to track as the wet season unfolds.