Feast and famine
Why the summer bounty never lasts

One thing we can count on with the water cycle …

No two years are alike.

Hydrograph of water levels in Big Cypress National Preserve comparing this year (blue line) to last year (red line)

Yes, it’s true: We have the average year (shown as the “normal range” band in the hydrograph above) that we compare current conditions to. But in my memory we’ve yet to see a year that stays completely within the “normal range.” This year for example, water levels in the swamp were tracking low for much of the summer. Then came a wet end of September and above average October rains, plus a drenching November rain. The result? Water levels are above the normal band. But how long will that last? Answer: Probably not as long as last year’s record wet winter. However, even last year’s record TS Eta rain event, the water table still dropped down into a fairly deep drought by the end of the spring.

No matter how big the summer bounty of rain, canals and levees rig the swamp for a dive into spring drought without the timely arrival of dry season rains.

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