When Hurricane Ian dumped nearly two feet of rain on us here in The Swamp in DeBary, FL we’ve been seriously flooded out. Alligators have been swimming where I’d normally be parking my SUV. Flood stage for the Saint Johns River, where I’m moored, is four feet at Astor, about 30 miles north of me. In Deland, the next town to my north the water stage stands at 6’2″! The sayers at the U.S. Weather Service sooth that the river is expected to fall to four and a half feet by this coming Thursday, October 27th. Still an awfully long way to go.
The following is PURE SPECULATION on my part with no scientific evidence to back it up. I think one of the major impediments to the flooding diminishing faster is the fact that much of the Saint Johns River is tidal. It’s a slow moving, northwards flowing river with the highest point of its path only 30 feet above sea level to where it debouches into the Atlantic Ocean past Jacksonville. Tides cause seawater to enter the mouth of the Saint Johns and regularly affect water levels as far south as Lake Monroe 161 miles along the river’s 310 mile length. There are two high tides and two lows each day. When the tide is rising it has to be pushing against the water heading to the sea and, reversing the course at up to 2.6 mph! That HAS to impede the river’s ability to empty itself.
But the water IS slowly receding.