The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has announced that it will reduce flows from Lake Okeechobee Friday.
Flows at St. Lucie Lock & Dam will vary daily, but average 1,170 cubic feet per second over the seven-day period, the agency said.
It said the pulse release for the St. Lucie includes two days of no releases on Saturday and Sunday. However, local basin runoff may still be discharged.
Flows at W.P. Franklin Lock & Dam on the Caloosahatchee River will remain constant at 3,000 cubic feet per second.
Additional rain runoff in the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie basins might result in flows that exceed one or both targets, the Corps said.
“We continue to coordinate closely with our partners at the South Florida Water Management District as we enter the peak of hurricane season when the situation could change rapidly. We are currently monitoring two disturbances off the coast of Africa, where meteorologists advise it is possible to see new waves develop every 3-4 days," said Luis Alejandro, chief of the Jacksonville District’s Water Management Section in a statement.
Lake Okeechobee is currently at 14.66 feet above sea level. The agency said that is almost a foot higher than it was at this time last year.
South Florida Water Management District meteorologists estimate that Tropical Storm Gordon dropped approximately 1- 1.5 inches of rain over Lake Okeechobee within the last 7 days, and the National Weather Service forecasts an additional 2-2.5 inches of precipitation in south Florida over the next 7 days.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
The Army Corps says its water managers estimate that the lake level would be more than a foot higher if the agency had not done any water releases since Mother’s Day.
Discharges from Lake Okeechobee combined with rain, pollutants, and heat have caused toxic algae blooms. Critics of the discharges say it's not only hurting the ecosystem but their economy as well.