Pre-Cristobal makes name for itself in southwest Florida
Rain Or Shine Report for Aug 4th
Southwest Florida has been the rainiest of the southern peninsula’s basins since the start of June.
Thanks to an abundant three-days of rain from Cristobal a few weeks back, the Southwest Coast ended the month with 12 inches in July. That’s the highest July rain total for the Southwest Coasts since almost 15 inches fell in July 2001.
Actually, it was pre-Cristobal … the storm wasn’t officially named until it passed into the Atlantic. But here in southwest Florida, Cristobal made a name for itself (as a rainmaker to be remembered) even before NOAA christened it with an official name.
Of course all eyes are on The Lake, and as long as it’s so low, it’s been difficult to convince anyone that we’re not in a drought … and that goes for everywhere in Florida.
And consider that The Lake has only received 14 inches of rain since the start of June, and only 7 inches over the past 30 days.
That may seem low compared to other areas, but it’s actually a normal dose of summer rains over The Lake. The Lake’s 10-year average rainfall for June is only 7 inches, and for July its only 6 inches.
How much has it rained on the Lower Kissimmee in comparison?
That has the Kissimmee River up and flowing at 2,000 cfs into The Lake (from S65E), a flow rate that has been matched by Harney Creek Canal (s71) for the past few weeks.
So far this year, the Kissimmee River has discharged around 300,000 acre feet into the Lake. That’s already exceeded last year’s full-year total … but its low compared to 2005, when 1.4 million acre feet discharged into The Lake through the start of August, and 2.3 million acre-feet for the full year.
In summary, The Lake has risen almost 2 ft since the middle of June, but it’s still hovering a few inches below the 11 ft mark. Eleven feet is the level above which the wetting fronts starts to move its way up into the littoral zone, and also a level it’s been below for over 510 days and counting.
The littoral zone doesn’t become fully flooded from levee bank to levee bank until it rises above 15 ft msl. That hasn’t occurred since early winter of 2006.
And don’t forget the new LORSS regulation schedule is in effect. It designates levels above 17.5 ft to be detrimental to the integrity of the levee.
Compare that to the Lake’s historic level of 20-22 ft above sea level. The littoral zone as we know it today — spanning for miles (more than the eye can see) to the east of Moore Haven — didn’t exist.
That sawgrass plain is gone today.
Is it the missing link to the hydrologic system of old?
Grand visions of a flow way live on.