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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Lake Okeechobee's Hoover Dike 'weathered the storm well'



Although Lake Okeechobee is expected to reach the highest water level in 10 years as a result of Hurricane Matthew, the lower than expected rainfall in South Florida has led to stable conditions for the region's flood control system and the Herbert Hoover Dike, state and federal water managers said in separate reports on Friday.

Water levels in Lake Okeechobee continue to rise  because of the storm, said Col. Jason Kirk, Jacksonville District Commander, but initial assessments of the impact from the storm "indicate that the dike has weathered the storm well."
Water managers estimate that the lake levels will rise to a stage of 16.5 feet and, as a result, the corps has resumed discharges from the lake after suspending them during the storm, the corps said in a press release.
"Water managers will closely monitor basin conditions and adjust flows as needed to reduce the risk of flooding downstream from Lake Okeechobee,'' the corps said.

Meanwhile, officials at the South Florida Water Management District reported that the rainfall from the storm was heaviest in St. Lucie, Martin and northern Palm Beach counties. But the total to that region -- between two to four inches -- was much less than the eight to 10 inches expected.
"Our flood control system was well prepared to accommodate the actual rainfall that the system did receive,'' said  John Mitnik, the chief engineer for the South Florida Water Management District said in a media availability late Friday. 
In Miami-Dade and Broward counties, the rain from the storm "amounted to a typical wet season afternoon rainstorm,'' he said. 
The district conducted a review of the flood control system and preliminary reports have not identified any significant damage or clogged water control structures, Mitnik said. 
He added that the East Coast protective levies are performing well and water conservation areas are "well below stages that would be for this time of year." 

[Last modified: Friday, October 7, 2016 4:52pm]


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