Kissimmee rises (again)

When are two numbers not the same?

All the time.

Case in point is the Kissimmee River.

Through the first 6 months of the calendar year, this year (2009) and last year (2008) have delivered the same volume of water to Lake Okeechobee – around 200,000 acre feet.

That’s about a fifth the volume of the 25-year average of 1,000,000 acre feet.

But the story couldn’t be any different.

Last June the Kissimmee was discharging into the Lake at a low (but seasonally normal) rate of 200 cubic feet per second (cfs);

Compare that to this June’s 4,000 cfs – it ties the 25-year June peak (of 2005) … even though in 2005 it was the result of June rains as opposed to this year’s record May deluge.

And despite last year’s big rain event – which brimmed the Kissimmee with chart-topping +10,000 cfs flows in the weeks following Fay – the annual flow volumes chimed in right around average – at 1,000,000 acre feet:

Or about half the volume of 2003, 2004, and 2005.

That’s why in hydrology, when it comes to making sense of the numbers, you need a couple graphs.

Three is a start.

Color coding the in the bottom two graphs are the same for comparison purposes (except gray replaces green in the calendar graph for visual clarity)

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