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Posted 9/6/2018

Release no. 18-066


Contact
Erica Skolte
561-340-1527
561-801-5734 (cell)
Erica.A.Skolte@usace.army.mil

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Jacksonville District announces a reduced flow schedule for water releases from Lake Okeechobee, to take effect Friday. This decision will be in effect until further notice.

 Flows at W.P. Franklin Lock & Dam (S-79) will remain constant at 3,000 cubic feet per second (cfs). Flows at St. Lucie Lock &Dam (S-80) will vary daily, but average 1,170 cfs over the seven-day period. The pulse release for the St. Lucie includes two days of no releases on Saturday and Sunday, although local basin runoff may still be discharged. Additional runoff from rain in the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie basins could occasionally result in flows that exceed one or both targets.

 

Day of Week

Day of Pulse Release

S-79

W.P. Franklin

S-80

St. Lucie

FRI

1

3000

1170

SAT

2

3000

0

SUN

3

3000

0

MON

4

3000

1270

TUES

5

3000

2000

WED

6

3000

2100

THU

7

3000

1650

“The decision to reduce flows follows Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule (LORS) guidance,” said Luis Alejandro, chief of the Jacksonville District’s Water Management Section. “We continue to coordinate closely with our partners at the South Florida Water Management District as we enter the peak of hurricane season, when the situation could change rapidly. We are currently monitoring two disturbances off the coast of Africa, where meteorologists advise it is possible to see new waves develop every 3-4 days.”

Lake Okeechobee is currently at 14.66 feet above sea level, almost a foot higher than it was at this time last year. During the past week, lake levels rose 0.06 feet, with a 0.27 foot rise in the past 30 days.

South Florida Water Management District meteorologists estimate that Tropical Storm Gordon dropped approximately 1- 1.5 inches of rain over Lake Okeechobee within the last 7 days, and the National Weather Service forecasts an additional 2-2.5 inches of precipitation in south Florida over the next 7 days.

Local basin runoff contributes a significant amount of the flow to the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie Estuaries. The 7-day average for local basin runoff from the Caloosahatchee basin has been 3,000 cubic feet per second (cfs).

Between May 13 and September 3, Lake Okeechobee contributed 30 percent of the 1.2 million acre-feet of flow to the Caloosahatchee, with 50 percent coming from the local C-43 basin, and 20 percent from tidal inflow.

During the same period, Lake Okeechobee contributed 26 percent of the 732 thousand acre-feet of flow, with the remaining 17 percent from the C-44 basin, 12 percent from the C-23 basin, 10 percent from the C-24 basin, 15 percent from Ten Mile Creek and 20 percent from tidal inflow.

Corps water managers estimate that the lake level would be more than a foot higher than it is today, if the Corps had not done any water releases since Mother’s Day. Last year, lake levels rose from a low of 10.93 NGVD on June 1 to 13.67 feet on September 5, when the Corps initiated a pre-storm drawdown in advance of Hurricane Irma. Following Irma, the lake level rose more than 3 feet within a month, reaching a high of 17.2 feet NGVD on October 9.

Corps water managers estimate that one foot of rainfall over the Lake Okeechobee basin could result in a 3-4 foot rise in the lake’s water level.

The International Research Institute for Climate and Society at Columbia University predicts a 70 percent chance of El Niño development for winter 2018-19, which could mean higher than normal rainfall and a “wet” dry season.

Jacksonville District staff will continue to monitor conditions and adjust flows as necessary. For more information on water level and flows data for Lake Okeechobee, visit the Jacksonville District water management website at http://www.saj.usace.army.mil/Missions/CivilWorks/WaterManagement.aspx.

 

Caloosahatchee Jacksonville District Lake Okeechobee st. lucie U.S. Army Corps of Engineers water management water releases