Swamp hydrograph turns back years

Every year is a little different in the swamp.

Here’s an animated hydrograph that displays the past ten.

Which ones were the most memorable?

The summer of 2005 really jumps out in my mind. That wet season started fast out of the gate with +20 inches of June rain and it ran strong through the fall with a hurricane season that just wouldn’t die. And who could forget Fay in August of 2008. It soaked the entire state (except Tampa) from head to foot and inundated the swamp well up into the pines.

Even more memorable for me was an epic dry season deluge in February of 2008. It flushed water well up into the marl prairies in what had appeared, up until that point, to be an early and deep dry down towards spring. The flood waters were all the more ostentatious because the ground vegetation in the prairies was thin and dormant in its threadbare winter state.

Nor will I soon forget seeing one of the swamps deepest spots, Sweetwater, go bone dry in May of 2009 (so much so that we were able to walk through the culverts)!

Sweetwater May 2009

How does this winter rate?

The swamp appears well on its way to an early dry down. Current swamp stage has dropped to the bottom of the tall cypress. We usually don’t see that happen until the middle of March. That makes this year’s dry down similar to what we saw during the winter droughts of 2001 and 2009.

January 2011

Last year of course we didn’t have a dry down.

Water flat-lined in the cypress all dry season long.

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