Water Year 2019 (May 1, 2018 to April 30, 2019)
WY 2019 started with prodigious rains in the May, the wet season’s opening month. Usually a time of transition when both the water table bottoms out and the regular pattern of afternoon thunderstorms begins—resulting in the gradual rise of the water through the Everglades and Big Cypress Swamp—the triple dose of May’s usual rainfall allotment quickly jumped the water table up into the cypress and sawgrass plain. Initial expectations of a flood year resembling the Hurricane-Irma fueled 2017 wet season failed to materialize as summer rains fizzled early, recording only six inches of combined rainfall in September and October compared to the normal 12 inches. The result was an early start to the dry season. Surface water had all but disappeared from the Big Cypress Swamp by January, setting the stage for a deep and prolonged dry season, when a series of storms flooded the cypress back to July levels.
WY 2019 exemplified the seasonally predictable, yet mercurial, nature of the south Florida weather cycle. What was expected to be a “wet” wet season turned dry, and what looked to be a “dry” dry season turned wet. Shifts between flood and drought can occur quickly both within and during the transition between the approximate 6-month long wet and dry seasons.