published: Sunday, June 16, 2013
A good start for the rainy season
By CHRISTOPHER TUFFLEY
SEBRING -- The good news is that recent rains could not have come at a better time. Years of intense drought has left Central Florida dried out. A rainy 2012 helped, but experts warn there is still a ways to go. On March 8, 2013, for example, the aquifer was nearly 2 feet below zero.
On June 5, the Southwest Florida Water Management District reported the aquifer level was at almost 2.5 feet. While within the normal range (0 to 8 feet), that measurement is on the low side.
It takes time for water to percolate into the ground. Since May 31, the district has had 10 inches of rain -- amounts nearly doubled in the week of June 5-12 alone -- and by June 12, the aquifer had almost doubled too, rising to 4.16 feet, nearly ideal.
A warning sign that the drought still affects Highlands County, however, is that neither Neibert's Tavern -- on Arbuckle Creek and U.S. 98 -- nor the Avon Park Correctional Institute out at the Bombing Range, both areas historically prone to flooding, have had problems because of the rain. Arbuckle Creek is still well below normal.
Granville Kinsman, spokesman for SWFWMD, confirmed the low water levels and lack of flooding.
"The lake flows have been low for years," he said. "Last year (2012) brought massive improvements, but since October the levels have been declining. Things are looking better with May and June's rain."
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