Kissimmee rises into 90s

The Kissimmee River is currently flowing into Lake Okeechobee at a discharge rate of over 5,000 cubic feet per second.

That puts it up into 90th percentile territory
(based on the 30 year record).

That sounds high,
But is it really?

Compared to last year this time
(and for the past three springs for that matter) …

The answer is “Yes” –
It flowed under 200 cfs for much of those springs.

Compared to our normal wet season the answer is “Yes” too.

Kissimmee’s median late summer flow rate
for the past 30 years is around 2,000 cfs …

Less than half what’s flowing into the Lake today.

In terms of the big flow years it’s still too early to tell.

The “spring of record” was the El Nino of 1998
when 1.3 million acre feet discharged into the Lake
between January and late March of that calendar year.

(This year’s total (so far) is just over a quarter of a million acre feet in comparison, much smaller.)

But 1998 (and 1983) were the exceptions:

Big flow years are traditionally made during the summer and fall
in the form of big wet seasons and whimsical tropical downpours.

The “summer of record” in that respect spans three years
from 2003, 2004 and 2005 when the Kissimmee delivered
around 2 million acre feet per year into the Lake.

That adds up to more than a full Lake volume,
Or 5 million acre feet, for those three years
from the Kissimmee River alone …

(And not counting water from direct rainfall and the other tributaries).

Now those years were ginormous flow years!
This year remains a wait and see.

Still …
On a logarithmic graph,
the 90th percentile does look pretty high.

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