MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. - Gary St Pierre is relieved he didn’t end up having to use his canoe on the street in front of his house instead of in the St. Lucie River behind it with this week’s high tides.
“Blessed that nothing major happened.”
He said the overall water level is starting to go down now.
“Today we noticed the water was dropping probably about a foot lower than it had been on low tide,” he said.
The king tide combined with recent rain, wind and Lake Okeechobee discharges from earlier in the week pushed water over Southwest Salerno Road in St. Lucie Settlement Thursday, but St Pierre said it wasn’t as severe as the community was anticipating.
“I was up all night because people who have been in the neighborhood a lot longer than I had told me the last time the tides jumped up, they gained three feet inside of an hour and a half, which means that would be devastating to a lot of our neighbors,” he said.
However, Lake Okeechobee is on his mind now.
“If they happen to open the gates, we’re going to be the first one to notice it because we’re going to go under,”
He was thankful the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers stopped discharges this week as the tide rose.
“It seems like the Corps and the different people that are in charge today care about flooding, not only in our community, there’s other communities in Martin county that are low too,” he said.
However, the water in the lake rose to 17 feet Saturday.
The Corps said earlier this week they plan to start up discharges again once the tides go down.
“That’s when we’ll go back to what we were. Being nervous and worrying about the homes in our community flooding again.”
The Corps also said if the lake reaches 17 feet, they would start doing daily inspections of the Herbert Hoover Dike.