Friday, January 19, 2018
Politics

As more storms loom, Florida tries to make room for more water

TALLAHASSEE — With two new tropical depressions forming in the Atlantic and Gov. Rick Scott worried about another hurricane, Florida water managers worked on all fronts Thursday to lower water levels in Lake Okeechobee and surrounding canals to avoid the possibility of more flooding.

On Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers announced it would "release as much water as practical" through the spillway at Port Mayaca Lock and Dam on the east side of the lake starting Friday, and begin releases from the lake to the Caloosahatchee Estuary "as soon as capacity exists downstream."

"With so much of hurricane season remaining, we want to slow the rise to the extent possible so we retain storage for future events," said Col. Jason Kirk, Jacksonville District Commander in a statement.

The prospect of another massive rain event that could threaten the fragile Herbert Hoover dike and lead to flooding has Scott worried.

As Hurricane Irma approached, water managers gradually lowered the water levels in the dike and avoided flooding there. But, as the runoff from the storm swamps wetlands, canals and the lake's recharge areas, flooding remains a threat.

"What I'm really worried about is the dike," Scott told reporters in Marathon on Wednesday, while touring the Keys. "We get the level of the dike down during hurricane season. The concern now is it might get up to 17 [feet] with all this rain ... I'm worried about another hurricane."

"The lake has risen rapidly over the past week," Kirk said. "With projected inflows, Lake O will rise to around 17 feet."

Lake Okeechobee measured at 14.83 feet on Thursday and was rising, Kirk said. So far this month, more than 10 inches of rain have fallen in the region. about six inches more than normal. The release of water "will help stem that rise, though it will not stop it."

Meanwhile, water managers also continued working to lower levels and ease flooding in the 16 South Florida counties hit by Hurricane Irma. In southern Miami-Dade County, the district is pumping waters into the C-4 Retention Basin, which is used to store water and provide flood protection for residents and businesses in the Sweetwater and West Miami areas.

Water management crews began installing three, 42-inch temporary pumps to assist in lowering levels in the Big Cypress Basin where canals are flowing at maximum capacity. Two similar pumps will be installed in Polk County to help lower water levels in Lake Rosalie.

On the Treasure Coast, the district has begun pumping water into the recently completed Ten Mile Creek Water Preserve Area in northern St. Lucie County in an effort to lower water levels in the creek and help mitigate flooding near the intersection of State Road 70 and Florida's Turnpike west of Fort Pierce.

Along the East Coast, most canal levels have receded and water managers expect to be able to resume normal operations by the end of the week, the district said.

Miami Herald reporter Patricia Mazzei contributed to this report. Contact Mary Ellen Klas at [email protected] Follow @MaryEllenKlas

Comments
Romano: If UCF is national champion, then Iím a Hollywood stud

Romano: If UCF is national champion, then Iím a Hollywood stud

The late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously said people were entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts.Clearly, Moynihan never dealt with Florida legislators.Because around Tallahassee, facts are fungible. They arenít just up for ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Congress likely racing toward a government shutdown

Congress likely racing toward a government shutdown

WASHINGTON ó A bitterly-divided Congress hurtled toward a government shutdown this weekend in a partisan stare-down over demands by Democrats for a solution on politically fraught legislation to protect about 700,000 younger immigrants from being dep...
Published: 01/19/18
Clearwater City Council candidate John Funk: City needs better planning

Clearwater City Council candidate John Funk: City needs better planning

CLEARWATER ó Voters may not be too familiar with the name John Funk.So since launching his campaign for City Council Seat 5 against well-known incumbent Hoyt Hamilton, Funk said he has knocked on 2,000 doors to introduce himself. Before the March 13 ...
Published: 01/19/18
Clearwater City Council candidate Hoyt Hamilton: Experience is key for critical next term

Clearwater City Council candidate Hoyt Hamilton: Experience is key for critical next term

CLEARWATER ó By asking voters to elect him into office a fifth time, Hoyt Hamilton knows heís now considered part of the old-guard. Born and raised in Clearwater, his family roots stretch back here more than 100 years. Hamilton, 59, spent nearly his ...
Published: 01/19/18

Q&A: Government shutdown looms. Hereís what you need to know

Lawmakers have until midnight tonight to pass legislation to avert a government shutdown.Hereís what that means. Why would the government shut down?Every year, Congress has to approve laws, known as appropriations, that provide money for federal agen...
Published: 01/18/18
Redington Shores mayor, commission positions filled with no opponents

Redington Shores mayor, commission positions filled with no opponents

REDINGTON SHORES ó There will be no election this year, but the changeout of commission members that began last year will continue. When the new commission is sworn in this March, four of five members, including the mayor, will have changed within th...
Published: 01/18/18
Rick Baker leaving Edwards Group, promoting new book

Rick Baker leaving Edwards Group, promoting new book

ST. PETERSBURG ó Rick Baker is opening a new chapter in his life. So far, the future remains an open book.The former two-term mayor announced Sunday that heís resigning his position as president of the Edwards Group effective Jan. 31.Baker has worked...
Published: 01/18/18
Madeira Beach voters have clear choices as battle lines form over growth

Madeira Beach voters have clear choices as battle lines form over growth

By Sheila Mullane EstradaTimes CorrespondentMADEIRA BEACH ó Voters here can either end or continue the cityís divisive politics on March 13. They will also decide how the city grows.The two commission seats that now represent pro-growth and pro-devel...
Published: 01/18/18
Christie leaves as unpopular N.J. governor, but with no broken legs

Christie leaves as unpopular N.J. governor, but with no broken legs

TRENTON, N.J. ó Republican Chris Christie left the New Jersey governorís office with his popularity in tatters, but at least he didnít break a leg. Christie is the first elected New Jersey governor in more than two decades not to suffer a broken leg ...
Published: 01/17/18
Ernest Hooper: Restoring rights after prison is about redemption, not politics

Ernest Hooper: Restoring rights after prison is about redemption, not politics

Desmond Meade says everywhere he goes in Florida, he hears the stories.From whites and blacks, conservatives and liberals, blue collar laborers and white collar wage earners. People from all walks have walked up to him with a common request.Theyíre c...
Published: 01/16/18
Updated: 01/17/18