News-Press

October 13, 2016

 

Lake levels falling in wake of Hurricane Matthew

Chad Gillis

http://www.news-press.com/story/news/2016/10/13/lake-levels-falling-wake-hurricane-matthew/91997856/

 

Water managers are cutting some of the flows to the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie rivers this week.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers opened all the flood gates in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Matthew. The agency said Thursday that Lake Okeechobee is again below 16 feet above sea level.

“Flows into the lake are falling,” said Candida Bronson, acting operations division chief for the Jacksonville district. “One of the reasons for this is the South Florida Water Management District’s efforts to hold water in the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes to the north. We are hopeful that their action, coupled with continued good weather, will cause the recession in the lake level to continue.”

The Herbert Hoover Dike that surrounds Lake Okeechobee is considered to be the second most dangerous water control structure in the country, with Lake Pontchartrain in Louisiana being No. 1.

Operation protocols say the lake should be kept between 12.5 feet and 15.5 feet above sea level in order to provide flood protection for people and businesses just south of the lake.