Weekend Storms Helped Raise Lake Okeechobee Levels

MIAMI (CBS4) – While many South Floridians cursed the recent heavy storms for ruining their weekend, officials with the Water Management District couldn’t be more thrilled.

According to CBS4 News partner The Miami Herald, The Kissimmee River Basin, which drains into Lake Okeechobee, got an average of 12.6 inches at its north end and 10.8 inches at it south end. Some areas even saw as much as 16 inches.

The South Florida Water Management District told the paper that on Monday, the lake stood at 11.16 feet above sea level, however it is still 2.75 feet below where what officials are comfortable with going into the dry season.The lake could still rise another inch or two in the coming weeks due to run-off flowing south.

“I think we made up some of the gap,” said Susan Sylvester, SFWMD Director of Operation Control. “This is a healthy event but you don’t want to downplay that there are people out there who dealing with flooding.’’

While the rainfall was significant, it is nowhere near the deluge the lake got when Tropical Storm Fay passed over in 2008. Water managers saw lake levels  rose by 2.5 feet from the 20 inches of rain that fell.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald contributed material for this report)


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