With the possibility of tropical activity in south Florida in the coming days, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District is preparing to respond as needed and providing information to boaters and campers on operational adjustments that will take place at navigation locks and recreation facilities.
The Jacksonville District activated its emergency operations center (EOC) at noon today (Aug. 26). This action allows district staff to devote added attention to the response actions that might be necessary should a tropical cyclone or heavy rain develop.
“Our staff is coordinating with state and local officials,” said Candida Bronson, Acting Operations Division Chief for Jacksonville District. “We will staff our EOC over the weekend, and dispatch liaison officers to the state EOC and other locations as appropriate.”
Jacksonville District is issuing the following guidance on its operations in south Florida:
• For boaters, the Corps plans to extend operating hours for its navigation locks when a storm is 72 hours out. The extended hours will remain in place until a storm is eight hours from landfall. To ensure safety of lock operators, the Corps will suspend operations when lightning is in the area, or when winds exceed 35 mph.
• For campers and visitors to recreation sites, Jacksonville District park rangers will monitor conditions at Corps’ campgrounds and recreation areas. If a county government issues an evacuation order for mobile homes or RV parks in an area where there is a Corps’ campground or recreational facility, rangers will order an evacuation of the facility and advise on shelter locations. Visitors should move all campers, motor homes, tents, vessels, and trailers from facilities under evacuation orders.
• Field staff will conduct pre-storm evaluation of the Herbert Hoover Dike surrounding Lake Okeechobee. Significant rain on the lake or in the Kissimmee basin to the north could cause a rapid rise in the lake over the coming weeks. The current lake stage is 14.67 feet. While no imminent threat of failure exists, the lake stage is in the upper end of the Corps’ preferred range of 12.5-15.5 feet.
More information on Jacksonville District response actions can be found at www.saj.usace.army.mil.
Release no. 16-070