Rain re-nourished swamp

It’s been a rainy week in the swamp.

Here’s some scenic photos of those clouds in action.

South of Tamiami Trail
in the vicinity of New River Strand
looking northeast

Near the mouth of Turner River
looking upstream.  If you look closely
you can see the orphaned mile of
Turner River canal that was filled in
in 1996 and helped steer water back
to the river.

Yes, that’s flooded, but it’s not
the “wetting front.”  It’s the line in
the swamp where the Moon Fish
Wildfire stopped, looking east
into the Everglades

The swamp is a flood and fire adapted ecosystem.

So goes flood and fire, so goes the swamp.

Hole in the dome

From the ground,

Cypress domes look like hills.

Cypress domes are the swamp’s
signature physiographic feature,
even if they aren’t named

Only in flying over them,

Can you see they are holes instead.

Also simply walking into one will prove the same thing. 

“Upside down” cloud

What happens when a cumulonimbus cloud …
Hits the top of the troposphere.
Better known as
Mammatus clouds


Usually they anvil out.
And and sometimes they continue to grow …
In a downward direction as shown above.
strands and sloughs

Coastal flowing swamp
The strand flows slowly to the sea

Where is this strand going?

You can see it as a shimmering sliver of blue in the background.

Here’s the look south towards
the undeveloped coast

It’s called the Ten Thousand Islands coast.

The strand is called Gator Hook.

Where fresh and saltwater
make a brackish water mix.

Farther upstream it crosses under Loop Road,

About 2 miles north of Sweetwater.

Farther north this is where the freshwater
sheet flow gets its start
Here’s a look at where
the photos were taken on a map

Obeying the weather

There was no stopping this cloud.

Not that it obeys traffic signs.

The Big Cypress is home
to impressive summer skies

That being said its vertical rise …

Did stop at the top of the troposphere.

We can thank the stratosphere for that.

Summer – clouds = Very hot!

Humidity and shade …

Usually help stifle back Florida’s high noon sun.

We’re now in the summer plateau:
Daytime highs and lows nineties and
nighttime lows in the high seventies
for the next 3-4 months

Not this week!

A run of mostly cloud-free days allowed the heat to build up and persist.

To make matters worse, Labor Day is still two months away.

Not that Labor Day even matters.

Comparison of Naples
to other places along
the East Coast

Summer’s grip in south Florida won’t relent until mid October.

Suffice it to say, the summer slog is upon us.

Our only hope is for the clouds and rains to return soon!

Sunny Florida?

What looks like a perfectly sunny day …

Can quickly change to rain in south Florida.

Another sunny day in town,
Looking West

A moment later
Looking East

Although its hard to tell when and if they may strike.

What had been constant rumbling …

Seems to be drifting North.

Florida’s “meteorological” four horsemen

Can you hear the apocalyptic atmospheric stampede?

Not to worry — the world is not coming to an end.  It’s just the sound of one of Florida’s four horsemen galloping across the sky.

Storms roll across the Florida peninsula
like a stampede of wild horses

Who exactly are the Four Horsemen you may ask?

  • The first is our old faithful of the summer: the Enhanced Sea Breeze. I’m not talking your any day old run of the mill sea breeze. This is the one that, with a little help of upper level atmospheric instability and a Gulf flyover of a deep dipping Jet Stream – two factors that puts extra wind behind the sails of the sea breeze, creates our gargantuan Kilimanjaros rising out of the Everglades and the famed morning showers offshore of Miami.
  • The second horseman is the Continental Front. The thunderous squadrons of clouds that they bring, often leaving cold air in their wake, are typically a dry season event. But they’re not unheard of in the early summer season. That’s what makes June such a critical rainfall month for south Florida. Lingering springtime instability up on the continent – both in the upper and lower atmosphere – juices the early part of the rainy season, from Memorial Day to Forth of July. Once July roles around, a more homogeneous air mass takes hold across the southern peninsula. Trade winds blowing due east off the Bermuda High become the prevailing wind pattern.
  • It’s the Bermuda High that paves the path for the third horseman, and the scariest: the Cape Verde. These are the mammoth hurricanes that spawn off the coast of Africa, and head west around the perimeter of the Bermuda High. This one packs the full punch – horizontal rains, instantaneous – if only momentary – sea level rise, and tree-toppling winds. And this is no sucker punch – it broadcasts its potential fury days in advance, but it keeps its exact landfall a secret until the day approaches, and I use the term “day” only in calendar sense, because once the Cape Verde stampedes to shore, it turns daylight into night, other than a brief glimpse of daylight at its eye. That’s its prelude to the second half of its 1-2 punch, more commonly known as its knock out blow.
  • The fourth horseman is the Tropical Tempest from the Gulf and from the Caribbean. Usually not as scary as the Cape Verde, they play a prominent role in the early and late part of the hurricane season. Don’t be overly concerned with the magnitude of these, because even a disorganized wave of tropical moisture can give us the coveted BRD – Big Rain Day, as coined by the District’s Meteorology team. In technical terms, that’s a sFL-wide daily rainfall total of more than 1 inch. Geoff Shaughnessy tells me we need 6 BRDs to keep the annual water coffers filled.
You can hear and see them
coming from miles away

Florida’s four meteorological horsemen are each ominous in their own way, but after a long dry season their hooves, too, are music to water managers’ ears.  Finally, aquifers and wetlands can start to refill.

But come high water the same horsemen are cause for concern.

That’s the thing about the four horsemen:

They are a wild breed.  Yes, you can tame the landscape upon which they roam with levees and canals only so much.  The horsemen in their full fury have a reputation of running roughshod over civilization’s carefully laid plans.

In 1990 Lely Development Corporation commissioned
five 1 1/4 life sized running horses for the entrance to their luxury country club community in Naples, Florida.

But mostly the four horseman are fun to watch (and hear) from a distance.

Just be sure to take good cover when they run near!

Meteorologic “double vision?”

I saw an impressive cloud …

Along Alligator Alley today.

Panorama looking east
down Alligator Alley from
the State Road 29 overpass

The Tamiami Trail …

Greeted me with a similar view.

Panorama looking east
down Tamiami Trail
near Wootens

Actually, it was the same cloud.