How could storm affect Lake O discharges?

Army Corps to make announcement Thursday
Posted at 7:19 PM, Aug 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-24 20:59:35-04

When toxic algae washed ashore at Bathtub Beach earlier this summer, the Florida Oceanographic Society nearby closed its stingray touch tanks for a few days, since they operated on water intake from the ocean.

“We asked people not to touch those exhibits just out of caution," said Mark Perry with the society.

The last toxic water sample collected in Martin County was back on August 2, but the algae crisis is far from over.

“As we know we still have an algae bloom in Lake Okeechobee and its over 40 square miles," added Perry.

Freshwater discharges from Lake Okeechobee into the St. Lucie Estuary have held steady over the last several weeks.  Under a pulse-release schedule, the Army Corps of Engineers closes down the locks for two days at the end of each weeks cycle.

“We are continuing to gather information not only about the storm, but on conditions throughout the system," said Army Corps Spokesman John Campbell.

Campbell says the weather unknowns are posing new challenges. He says right now, the Herbert Hoover Dike is not at risk of failure.

“However, we continue to have concerns as we’ve had for most of the year that a sudden rise in the lake level could put increased strain on the dike.”  The Army Corps of Engineers  will make its announcement Thursday.