“Soaking in” season

Meteorological wet season has flipped “ON”,
but “soaking in” season still rules the land


Rain Or Shine Report for June 10th

The “meteorological” wet season is here, but when do we pass through the portals of the “terrestrial” wet season?

If that seems like a fine point, that’s because it probably is.

“Wet season” and “dry season” are meteorological terms.

But terrestrially, our boat is still stuck in the muck of the “soaking in” season:

Regular rains have returned, often quite intense (Does it rain harder anywhere than in Florida?), but it takes time for the water to soak in before we see it sustained on the surface.

We spoke earlier about the “giant switch in the sky”, that how from a meteorological perspective, the change from “wet season” to “dry season” is just that: a very definitive change, very similar to flipping a switch.

Not so for the terrestrial wet season.

The “soaking in” season is the larval precursor to the summer sheetflow. The sheetflow season in Big Cypress National Preserve typically lasts the second half of the calendar year, from Independence Day to New Year’s Day.

How long does the “soaking in” season last?

That varies from year to year, but usually about a few weeks, from late May to middle June. Sheetflow is usually up and running come July.

I was just at Audubon’s Corkscrew Sanctuary this past week, and never saw it drier.

The staff gage was dry: but that is nothing new.

Its been that way all winter, and last year’s summer “wet season” was among the driest on record.

That prolonged drought has depleted the wetlands of their normal stew of aquatic fauna that forms the avian food base.

I may be biased – after all I am a hydrologist, but the presence of water makes it, paradoxically, both a more tranquil and more lively (with wildlife) place.

And I am no botanist: rarely do I spot any plants other than the usual suspects … but the resurrection fern along the boardwalk caught my eye – it was leafing out.

That’s as good a sign as there is in the plant world that the meteorological “wet season” has begun, and the “soaking in” season is in progress:

The “sheetflow season” can’t be too far behind.

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Don’t forget to click into the Watershed Windshield, an online visual database maintained at Florida Gulf Coast University, to view current and historic hydrologic data for various watersheds across south Florida.
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