Okeechobee measuring cup

It’s been a big flow year for the Mississippi River.

Just how big?

With a month still yet to go, the equivalent volume of around 110 Lake Okeechobee’s have poured out of its mouth and into the Gulf.

That’s a back of the envelop calculation, but aren’t they always the best?

At its current level of 14.2 ft, Lake Okeechobee is currently holding around 3.5 million acre feet of water. At its summer peak (when it climbed the ladder to 15 ft mark), the Big Lake held around 4 million acre feet.

That’s the number I used for calculation purposes.

Compare the Mississippi’s 110 “Lake O volumes” to 2.5 for the Apalachicola and 0.25 “Lake O volumes” out of the Caloosahatchee.

Of the three, of course, it’s only the Caloosahatchee that actually drains “real” Lake O water.

This year, about a third of the water spilling out at the mouth of the Caloosahatchee was released from the Lake, or around 325,000 acre feet of the approximate 1 million acre feet total. The rest was from rain on its watershed.

As for the Mississippi and Apalachicola, that was “imaginary” lake water that I scooped out using a giant Okeechobee measuring cup.

What’s a giant Okeechobee measuring cup you may ask?

That’s just another gizmo you need in your hydrologic tool bag – along with flow meters, water level tapes, and bailing wire.

Photos were taken ontop of Lake Okeechobee’s perimeter levee near Lakeport.

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