March forecast spells more trouble for Lake Okeechobee

The Climate Prediction Center released its one-month forecast today and it is predicting above normal rain for Florida in March.

With Lake Okeechobee already swollen to uncomfortable levels, more rain will likely mean continued discharges into the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee rivers.

Capture

Despite dumping billions of gallons of water out of the lake, its level was 16.25 feet above sea level on Thursday. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers likes to keep the lake between 12.5 and 15.5 feet.

The South Florida Water Management District is asking the corps to reduce the lake discharges into the St. Lucie River by 50 percent to adhere to a 2008 release schedule.

“Lowering the discharge amounts will reduce the adverse ecological impacts to the estuaries while achieving reasonable water management goals for the lake,” a district statement said.

Dark Lake Okeechobee water seen flowing out of St. Lucie River. Photo by Ed Lippisch, provided by the office of U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Jupiter.

Dark Lake Okeechobee water seen flowing out of St. Lucie River. Photo by Ed Lippisch, provided by the office of U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Jupiter.

High lake levels could begin to erode the Herbert Hoover Dike, which keeps surrounding communities from flooding.

The South Florida Water Management District says this dry season is one of the wettest on record with 16.22 inches falling in its 16-county region from November through January.

According to the Climate Prediction Center’s forecast, Florida could see 60 percent more rain than normal in March.

 

Reader Comments 0

0 comments