For now, water managers are diverting as much water as they can out of the biggest troubles spots in the Everglades — the marshy water conservation areas bordering Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties — and sending it down canals into southern Everglades National Park and Florida Bay. State wildlife managers also have temporarily restricted public access to flooded portions of the Everglades and the Francis S. Taylor Wildlife Management Area to ease stress on stranded wildlife.
Flooding decimated the Glades’ population of white-tailed deer in 1982 and 1995, knocking the herd from thousands to hundreds, and killed countless smaller animals that rely on high, dry tree islands for food and shelter.
The FWC’s Anderson said he doesn’t expect that level of loss this time around, barring another major storm, which could keep water levels high even longer.
According to the South Florida Water Management District, which runs the flood control system from Orlando to Key West, seasonal rainfall is running about 114 percent above normal with an average of 37.53 inches across 16 counties.
But some areas have been hit harder than others, with the district showing eastern Broward County experiencing the wettest April through September since 1955, with more than 44 inches of rain — more than nine inches above average. Eastern Miami-Dade has been even wetter, with nearly 50 inches of rain — 13.22 inches above average.
At the official rainfall gauges maintained by the National Weather Service, Miami is on pace to record its wettest year ever, with 79.51 inches measured at Miami International Airport through September. The annual record for that site is 89.33 inches in 1959. The Redland, with 72.69 inches, and Homestead, with 67.58 inches, also are on pace for the wettest years on record. Fort Lauderdale’s Dixie water plant, with 69.24 inches, is the second wettest mark through September on record.