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Water managers discuss Hurricane Dorian's impact on Lake Okeechobee

Posted: 6:43 AM, Sep 06, 2019
Updated: 2019-09-06 17:25:52-04
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The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and South Florida Water Management District provided an update Friday afternoon about Lake Okeechobee following Hurricane Dorian.

Before Hurricane Dorian approached, Army Corps leaders worried the storm could cause Lake Okeechobee to rise more than 3 feet. However, it looks to be only a few inches higher compared to last week.

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The Army Corps says rain from Dorian at Lake Okeechobee was much less than initially forecast. Therefore, water managers said Friday there will be no new water releases at Lake O this week.

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"The trend right now is not to do any releases east and west, while the majority of water will be taken to the south," said Col. Andrew Kelly, Jacksonville District Commander. "The dike is in a great position, we have very low risk."

Col. Kelly added the Army Corps will reassess the water level in a week to see if any adjustments need to be made.

"The lake has risen 2 feet in the past month and tropical activity is high in the Atlantic basin," said Col. Kelly. "We will continue to monitor conditions and adjust releases as necessary."

RELATED: Lake Okeechobee levels expected to rise as summer rains continue | U.S. Rep. Brian Mast pleased no water discharges prior to Dorian

As of Friday, Lake Okeechobee's water level is 13.97 feet, up 0.37 feet in the last week, and up 1.97 feet during the past 30 days.

The Army Corps is letting runoff from rain in the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie basins pass through the W.P. Franklin Lock and Dam (S-79) and the St. Lucie Lock and Dam (S-80) but isn’t currently releasing water from the lake.

Jacksonville District staff report no storm impacts to the condition of the Herbert Hoover Dike. The Corps continues its ongoing rehabilitation of the dike, which is scheduled for completion in 2022.

In comparison, after Hurricane Irma slammed South Florida in 2017, the lake level was up to about 17 feet and water releases were necessary.