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South Florida Water Management prepares for hurricane season

Posted at 5:43 PM, Apr 26, 2017

The start to hurricane season is five weeks away and officials are already preparing for any scenario.

The South Florida Water Management District practiced emergency response and recovery from a major hurricane.

The exercise, called "Hurricane Freddy," simulated a category four hurricane making landfall over South Florida.

"This is the area that actually operates the flood control system for over 8 million people in South Florida,” said Randy Smith, spokesperson for SFWMD.

Staff implemented a full-scale emergency operations center to test the stress of a slow-moving hurricane with high winds dumping water across our area.

“These water managers are making decisions as turning on pumps in what areas, opening gates, moving water around," said Smith.

Before Hurricane Matthew, SFWMD lowered water levels in canals.

Most of the water systems in the district avoided high stress because Matthew did not make landfall locally, Smith said.

He said the district learned the most amount of lessons in preparedness from Hurricanes Gene, Francis, and Wilma.