Army Corps said Lake Okeechobee discharges could start as early as 7 a.m. Thursday
Tyler Treadway, Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers , Laura Santos, wptv.com
4:07 PM, Feb 4, 2014
9:43 PM, Feb 4, 2014
Lake Okeechobee has risen less than two-tenths of a foot in recent days and that is enough to make the Army Corps of Engineers consider releasing more water from the lake.
"The rising lake, coupled with a long-term forecast than is trending wet indicates that it makes sense to start releasing water now than when the water is rising faster than we can release it," said John Campbell, spokesman for the Army Corps of Engineers.
Campbell said the Corps is reviewing new data that shows a change in the seasonal and multi-seasonal levels of the lake. This data indicates that the lake could rise a foot or more in the upcoming wet season.
The lake's level as of midnight Monday was 13.95 feet and the preferred range is between 12.5 and 15.5 feet, Campbell said.
The Army Corps of Engineers met with the South Florida Water Management earlier Tuesday and, according to our partners at TCPalm.com determined that it could start releasing Lake Okeechobee water as early as 7 a.m. Thursday.
However, Campbell emphasized that the decision has not been made and that if it is determined that more water needs to be released, it will probably be discharged to the Caloosahatchee River on the southwest Gulf Coast of Florida near Fort Myers.
However, options range from no discharges to maximum discharges on the east and west side of the lake.
The Army Corps said there is "an emerging discussion to rule out maximum discharges."
Massive discharges over the summer contributed to toxic algae and a high bacteria problems on some waterways on the Treasure Coast.
TCPalm Reporter Tyler Treadway contributed to this story as did the wptv.com web team.