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South Florida Water Management District, Lake Worth Drainage District prepare for impacts from Potential Tropical Cyclone One

Storm could drop 4 to 7 inches of rain on Palm Beach County
Posted at 3:34 PM, Jun 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-02 18:13:02-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Officials in South Florida are making preparations for heavy rain associated with a tropical disturbance currently swirling in the southeastern Gulf of Mexico.

Potential Tropical Cyclone One, which is the remnants of Hurricane Agatha, could bring rain squalls, downpours and gusty winds starting Friday.

WPTV First Alert Meteorologist James Wieland said Palm Beach County could see 4 to 7 inches of rain from the storm with the Treasure Coast receiving 2 to 4 inches.

Tropical storm watches have been issued for both coasts of South Florida and the Florida Keys.

TRACKING THE TROPICS: Hurricane Center | Hurricane Guide

With that being said, South Florida's canal and drainage system could get an early test just days into this year's hurricane season.

As the storm moves toward the state, the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) said they are preparing the regional water management system for potentially heavy rainfall.

Flood control in South Florida is a shared responsibility between the district, county and city governments, local drainage districts, HOAs, and residents.

"SFWMD is strongly encouraging all local governments and local drainage operators to proactively monitor the storm and prepare their systems," the district said in a written statement.

Officials with the district said they are taking the following proactive actions ahead of the tropical system:

  • Managing canals to pre-storm levels to allow the flood control system to operate at full capacity if needed
  • Monitoring and actively adjusting flood protection gates and pumps in response to the forecast and rainfall
  • Pump station operators throughout South Florida are ready to ensure continued operations throughout the storm
  • If necessary, SFWMD will close navigational locks to ensure the safety of the boating public and prevent damage to the locks
Tommy Stroud, the executive director of the Lake Worth Drainage District, June 2, 2022
Tommy Stroud explains what the Lake Worth Drainage District is doing ahead of this weekend's tropical system.

Tommy Stroud, the executive director of the Lake Worth Drainage District, said they plan to release water out of the canals to make room for the potential rainfall.

His agency is asking everyone to look for any problems that can lead to flooding.

"Any clogged drains — or if they see vegetation or debris pile up — talk to your local homeowners' association about getting that cleaned up," Stroud said. "All it takes is one palm frond over a grate and that system is shut down."

The Lake Worth Drainage District extends from Palm Beach International Airport to the Broward County line and includes 500 canals designed to drain water.

"We're in kind of a good spot at the end of the dry season, so a lot of community lakes are relatively low," Stroud said. "In preparation of the storm, we're going to lower our canals a little bit to provide some extra room for that water we expect may come, and we'll be watching closely as the storm approaches and making further adjustments as necessary."