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Fieldwork

The Flood of June 2003 in Southwest Central Florida


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BMW automobile submerged in water from Big Slough Canal at Tropicaire Boulevard near North Port, June 24
Flooded: BMW automobile submerged in water from Big Slough Canal at Tropicaire Boulevard near North Port, June 24.

A series of severe thunderstorms swept through southwest Central Florida on June 21 to 24. Precipitation associated with these storms resulted in flooding in parts of Desoto, Hardee, Manatee, and Sarasota Counties. Floodwater from these thunderstorms caused damage to public and private property amounting to more than $11 million and damaged or destroyed more than 100 homes.

Field crews from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)'s Tampa Hydrologic Data Section measured some of the highest discharge (flow) ever recorded at several gauging stations during the June 21-24 flood. Peak-discharge measurements were made at 24 stations. These data contribute to understanding flood behavior, enhance efforts to minimize destruction caused by floods, and provide data for planning.

Precipitation associated with these thunderstorms resulted in the highest peak flows recorded for the period of record at seven streamflow-gauging stations in Desoto, Hardee, Manatee, and Sarasota Counties. These stations and their peak (provisional) computed discharge values are listed below:

  • Horse Creek near Myakka Head (3,400 cubic feet per second [cfs]),

  • Myakka River upstream from Youngs Creek near Myakka City (4,690 cfs),

  • Myakka River near Myakka City (8,500 cfs),

  • Myakka River at Myakka City (12,900 cfs),

  • Myakka River near Sarasota (11,100 cfs),

  • Big Slough Canal at Tropicaire Boulevard near North Port (4,300 cfs), and

  • Manatee River near Myakka Head (12,000 cfs).

Precipitation was recorded at several USGS gauging stations in southwest Central Florida and ranged from 9 to 17 inches for the period June 18-23, with the heaviest falling on June 21.

Big Slough Canal near Myakka City, June 23. Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP) recording discharge measurements at Big Slough Canal near Myakka City, June 23. Big Slough Canal overflowing bridge and road at Tropicaire Boulevard  near North Port, June 24.
Above left: Big Slough Canal near Myakka City, June 23.

Above center: Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP) recording discharge measurements at Big Slough Canal near Myakka City, June 23.

Above right: Big Slough Canal overflowing bridge and road at Tropicaire Boulevard near North Port, June 24.

The Tampa Hydrologic Data Section operates a network of streamflow-gauging stations in southwest Central Florida in cooperation with Federal, State, and local agencies. Data from these stations are crucial for water-supply planning, flood monitoring, emergency response, dam and reservoir-system operation, establishing flood-insurance rates, and engineering and maintenance of bridges, roads, and other structures. Most of these stations provide real-time data through satellite relay or radio telemetry. The National Weather Service, the Southwest Florida Water Management District, and other agencies use the data to maintain water supplies, forecast floods, and issue flood warnings.


Related Web Sites
Water Resources of Florida - Realtime Data
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)

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Coastal Circulation Experiment

Southwest Central Florida Flood

Outreach Science Teachers and Curriculum Development

Sea Education Association

School Children Learn About Sediment

WETMAAP Workshops for Teachers

Meetings American Water Works Association

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Continental Shelf Limits

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German-American Frontiers of Science

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