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Water Rising In Lake Okeechobee Post Irma

Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is responsible for the Lake Okeechobee dike, and before Hurricane Irma they were preparing for a direct hit. What they got instead was a lot of water, and that is still a problem.

While Irma didn’t hit Lake Okeechobee directly, the Army Corps of Engineers say the conditions of the lake and the dike that surround it now need a little extra monitoring.

The Corps’ Operations Division Chief Carol Bernstein says the water level in Lake O is 15 feet and rising.

“Right now, conservative projections indicate we may reach 16.5 or even 17 feet at the dike,” said Bernstein.

That’s not factoring in precipitation.  There will be concern if water levels reach about 19 feet, he said.

So, now, the Corps is discharging that excess water through channels like the Caloosahatchee River while also ensuring that they don’t discharge so much water that would cause flooding.

The dike was looked at after the storm for damage, he said.

“I’m pleased to report that although our inspection found minor damage there were no significant concerns at the dike,” said Bernstein.

Now, the Corps says it will monitor Hurricane Maria, which is projected to hit the east coast of the state and might hamper the discharging of the water on that side.

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