MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. - People living along the St Lucie River in Martin County are once again seeing water levels rise, just a couple of weeks after the king tides flooded roads and property.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is discharging about 3 billion gallons of water a day from Lake Okeechobee through the St. Lucie lock.
Those discharges along with other factors, such as recent rainfall, are contributing to higher tides than usual in St. Lucie Settlement, along the St. Lucie River.
"Normally, if you look where the dock is out there and the rocks, those rocks are a foot and a half out of water at high tide and you wouldn’t even know they’re there," said John Sprague, who lives in St. Lucie Settlement. "That’s how much the tide is up.”
Water rose up over parts of Southwest Salerno Road during high tide Thursday.
“Today (Thursday) is worse than yesterday," Sprague said of the high tide.
The water has flooded Sprague’s carport.
"The trailer becomes storage for everything that may disappear into floodwaters and everything else gets tied down," he said.
His house is high enough he doesn’t have to worry about water getting inside, but his neighbor, Dwight Buck, does.
“It’s only a couple feet from the house," Buck said.
More than 20 years ago, Buck said discharges from Lake Okeechobee sent two feet of water inside.
"I’m worried that it’s going to keep happening," he said. "It’s going to get higher because of the Lake Okeechobee water level."
While the Army Corps watches the level of Lake Okeechobee, people in St. Lucie Settlement will keep an eye on the water in their own yards.
“Long process. We’re going to go through this for a while," Sprague said.
The Army Corps said the goal is to release as much water as possible from the lake without causing flooding for people downstream, so they'll dial back flows based on tidal conditions.
"They are responding I believe very well this time," Sprague said.
The Army Corps is also in contact with state and local authorities about conditions downstream.