South Florida’s Lake Okeechobee at lowest level in 4 years

lake-okeechobee-at-lowest-level-in-4-years

The water level in Lake Okeechobee has fallen below 10 feet above sea level for the first time since 2007.  The lake fell to 9.96 feet Saturday morning.  South Florida is experiencing a drought. The rainy season began May 26 but it’s off to a slow start.

National Weather Service Warning Coordination Meteorologist Robert Molleda says West Palm Beach only recorded 10.45 inches of rain from October through May 31. That’s less than a third of a normal rainfall in that time.

Water managers say there’s no change yet to watering restrictions for residents, farmers and nurseries. South Florida Water Management District Division Director of Water Resources Terrie Bates says that’s partly because there’s been no salt water intrusion or increased chloride levels in coastal wells. (SoTT)

Lower Lake Okeechobee Level Triggers S-65E Navigation Lock Closure (June 2)

Beginning on Monday, June 6, the S-65E navigation lock at the  Kissimmee River and Lake Okeechobee will be closed with no locktender on duty due  to low water levels in Lake Okeechobee.

When Lake Okeechobee’s water level decreases to 10.0 feet NGVD and lower, the South  Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) closes the S-65E navigation lock to boat  traffic because of shoaling on the Lake Okeechobee side of the navigation lock and low  water levels inside the lock chamber. The Lake Okeechobee water level today is 10.09
feet NGVD and has been decreasing rapidly due to evapotranspiration and below- normal rainfall.

The SFWMD operates navigation locks to provide the greatest access possible for the  boating public while maintaining flood control and water supply for the region. Other  navigation locks on the Kissimmee River will remain in operation.

North shore Lake Okeechobee navigation locks at J&S Fish Camp, Henry Creek, Taylor  Creek, Buckhead Ridge and Lakeport all are closed with no locktender on duty at this  time because of low water levels. The S-310 navigation lock at Clewiston is secured in  the open position to allow boat traffic to pass.

The District will place the S-65E navigation lock back into service once the level of Lake  Okeechobee has stabilized at 10.5 feet NGVD. Other District-operated navigation locks  on Lake Okeechobee will be placed back into operation at lake level 12.5 feet NGVD.  Navigation locks on the Okeechobee Waterway, which includes the Caloosahatchee  River and St. Lucie Canal, are operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).

Access to Lake Okeechobee remains possible at boat ramps located inside the Herbert  Hoover Dike. For a guide to recreation sites on Lake Okeechobee, including boat ramps  and public parks. (South Florida Water Management District Division)

Water Shortage Watch Briefing (May 31 2011)

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