Water Year 2017 (May 1, 2016 to April 30, 2017)
Water Year 2017 featured a ”normal” wet season and “below average” dry season ― 40 inches of rain fell across south Florida during the six-month (May through October) summer wet season with 7 inches falling in the six month (November through April) dry season that followed, for an annual total of 47 inches.
Accordingly, wetlands and waterways of the Everglades filled up through the summer wet season and reliably receded during the winter dry season months. The biggest boost of rain came in August (an in particular in Water Conservation Areas 1 and 2 were 12 inches were recorded for the month) resulting in slough water depths to crest at a 2 foot depth through much of the Everglades by early October, more or less coinciding with vast wetland’s normal annual peak ― but one that, too, was also short lived.
Continuing a decade-long trend of anomalously low tropical storm activity, October (a month which historically accounts for a quarter of Florida’s hurricane-strength storms) had little rain to offer, thus ushering in an early start to a winter recession of water, and one that would last particularly long. Of note and continuing a two decade trend, the spring dry down was especially pronounced in the Big Cypress Swamp as evidenced by Corkscrew Swamp’s central marsh drying out and the outbreak of a large wildfire in Big Cypress National Preserve.