We have all talked about how wet it was this year, and the incessant rainfall of the summer. In many ways it seems that we grew attached with the past few dry years, installing irrigation systems and assuming drier conditions are the “new way of life.” I moved to North Florida in 2006, so I have a rather short perspective on many local phenomenon. One thing that comes to mind was a local pond I would pass on an infrequently traveled road in Suwannee County. I had never known this pond with water, but always heard stories of a beautiful lake, and the docks are all around as evidence this was once a source of recreation for many. As it had been years since there was water in the lake, I and others assumed that maybe a sinkhole had opened and drained it out, or that maybe the groundwater levels had dropped and the environment would not “perch” water anymore. Without significant investigation, there were many of us that made the assumption we would not see water in it again. I snapped this dry lake-bed picture in May 2012, which was at the end of a multi-year drought in the area. However, even after an extremely wet 2012 I did not see water in this lake the last few times I was by.
I share all this to say, much to my surprise, as I drove by this week, I see that the lake is beginning to fill. The progress since last time I was through the area was interesting, so I obtained the rainfall records from the FAWN station just a mile or two away at SVAEC. I have attached the table that shows annual rainfall totals, and it is exactly as I remembered. We experienced significantly below average rainfall in 2007-2011. This was followed by above average in 2012. Which brings us to 2013 and we have received 52.5″ year-to date. This brings me back to the “new way of life” comment above. Rainfall in 2013, as much as it seemed to rain day-in and day-out, is currently 0.3″ below the 30 year average annual rainfall of 52.83″ at Live Oak.
Perhaps the “new way of life” looks much like “the old way of life.” Are the farming systems we developed suited to an “average” year?