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Lake Okeechobee discharges to begin following heavy rain

Posted: 1:59 PM, May 31, 2018
Updated: 2018-06-01 06:49:17-04
Lake Okeechobee discharges to begin Friday

GLADES COUNTY, Fla. - The U.S. Army Corps said they will be begin discharges from Lake Okeechobee on Friday following weeks of heavy rain in Florida.

The Army Corps said in written statement that discharges will occur into the St. Lucie Estuary to the east and Caloosahatchee Estuary to the southwest. 

May has been a particularly wet month for much of Florida, quickly raising water levels on Lake Okeechobee.

"Historic rain across the region since the middle of May has caused the lake to rise more than a foot," said Jacksonville District commander Col. Jason Kirk in a written statement.  "We have to be prepared for additional water that could result from a tropical system.  The lake today is above the stage when Irma struck in September, which eventually caused the water level to exceed 17 feet.  A similar storm could take the lake to higher levels."  

The lake stage is 14.08 feet, up 1.25 feet from its 2018 low, which occurred May 13.

"Forecasts indicate more rain is on the way in the coming week," said Kirk.  "Additionally, long-range predictions indicate increasing probabilities of above-average precipitation for the rest of the wet season. We must start aggressively managing the water level to create storage for additional rain in the coming wet season."

The target flow for the Caloosahatchee Estuary is 4,000 cubic feet per second as measured at Moore Haven Lock located in the southwest part of the lake.  The target flow for the St. Lucie Estuary is 1,800 cfs as measured at St. Lucie Lock near Stuart.