The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District will resume flows from Lake Okeechobee in an effort to stem the rise in water level resulting from Hurricane Irma.
Starting Friday (Sept. 15), the Corps will release as much water as practical through the spillway at Port Mayaca Lock & Dam (S-308) located on the east side of the lake. Flows will vary based on downstream conditions in the St. Lucie Canal/Estuary.
The Corps will initiate flows from the Lake Okeechobee to the Caloosahatchee Estuary as soon as capacity exists downstream. High tidal cycles are slowing the amount of runoff that can pass through the spillway at W.P. Franklin Lock & Dam (S-79) near Fort Myers. Releasing water now could aggravate flooding of properties along the Caloosahatchee River.
“The lake has risen rapidly over the past week,” said Col. Jason Kirk, Jacksonville District Commander. “With projected inflows, Lake O will rise to around 17 feet. The outflows we will begin tomorrow morning will help stem that rise though it will not stop it. With so much of hurricane season remaining, we want to slow the rise to the extent possible so we retain storage for future events.”
Today, the lake stage is 14.83 feet and rising. Depending on runoff and other factors, the Corps could achieve flows from the lake between 2,000 and 4,000 cubic feet per second (cfs). Water managers will continue to give priority for accumulated runoff and high tides to reduce potential for flooding of nearby property owners.
For more information on water level and flows data for Lake Okeechobee, visit the Corps’ water management website at http://www.saj.usace.army.mil/Missions/CivilWorks/WaterManagement.aspx.
Release no. 17-047