Despite scattered bouts of rain in the past two weeks, South Florida is still on the U.S. Drought monitor’s watch list.
The weekly report released Thursday shows 70 percent of the county continues to be in a moderate drought, with the remainder “abnormally dry.”
Some areas northwest of Palm Beach County have fallen into severe drought.
That’s nearing the low end of where the Army Corps of Engineers likes the lake to stand at between 12.5 feet and 15.5 feet.
If the lake drops below 12 feet, several locks may have to be closed to boaters.
The affected locks are mostly along the north shore. The locks potentially affected are:
Martin County: S-135 structure, J&S Fish Camp
Okeechobee County: G-36 structure, Henry Creek
Glades County: S-127 structure, Buckhead Ridge
Glades County: S-131 structure, Lakeport
***Okeechobee County: S-193 structure, Taylor Creek, will close if lake levels fall below 11 feet.***
The situation is very different than last year when the lake was so bloated water was being sent out of the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries. The freshwater discharge damaged the estuaries and contributed to a widespread algae bloom.
The drought monitor includes rainfall through 7 a.m. the previous Tuesday.
The South Florida Water Management District gauges recorded little rain from yesterday’s storms.
The rainy season in South Florida usually begins in mid-May and lasts into October.
Water managers have asked residents to conserve water and follow year-round water restrictions that limit landscape watering to 2 to 3 times per week depending on location.