Lake Okeechobee, when full, holds 5 million acre feet.
It’s hard to conceptualize that number when you’re on the top of the levee: All you see is endless blue. It might as well be a sea.
But what if you could wrap all that water up in a sphere?
How big would that water look then?
It would be a big sphere to be sure – with a diameter of 1.4 miles … and if you could wrap a cloth around it, you’d need 6.3 square miles of it.
Florida’s next biggest lake – Lake George at 460,000 acre feet – would only have a 0.6 mile diameter if similarly spherically wrapped, and require 1.3 square miles of cloth.
Both would be too big an order for the local tailor. (And even if it wasn’t, the political controversy over which clothier(s) would get the order would be too difficult to solve!)
That’s why we have hydrologists instead … and math.