Tropical Storm Isaac: Water districts prepare canals for flooding, heavy rain

Canal gates opened to make room for rain

BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. - With many models of Tropical Storm Isaac predicting Palm Beach County could get a heavy dose of rain at the very least, flooding is always a concern.

Water district managers at the Lake Worth Drainage District said it only takes just a few inches of rain in a short amount of time to cause problems in more low, lying areas. That is why several canals gates were opened during the week in preparation of Tropical Storm Isaac.

"You can't drop the water instantly, it takes time. So we have to prepare at least a couple of days ahead of time," said Mike Baker, of the Lake Worth Drainage District.

Baker said the summer has already brought lots of rain. He said the excess storm water means a few inches of rain from Isaac could whip up some problems in his area.

"The canals back up and the roads back up and the homeowner's associations back up. It's a big mess," said Baker.

Baker said preparing for the storm is all about getting ahead.

At the South Florida Water Management District in Suburban West Palm Beach, crews said on Thursday they had let out water most in Miami-Dade County. Canals in Palm Beach County mostly stayed untouched.

"Of course you watch it very carefully because you know a forecast is only that, a forecast," said Randy Smith, spokesperson for the South Florida Water Management District.

Smith said while the control room usually stays busy throughout the year, they open the Emergency Operations Center on Sunday ready to receive a visit from Isaac.

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