WEST PALM BEACH (CBSMiami) — There is good news and not-so-good-news concerning Lake Okeechobee.
October 2011, ranked the fourth-wettest October in 80 years of record-keeping in South Florida, helped improve the lake’s water level.
The South Florida Water Management District said three major storm events in October helped bring the lake from a level of about 11.1 feet a month ago to about 13.7 feet. That’s still below the historical average of about 15 feet, but a drastic improvement for a major South Florida water source.
All areas from Orlando to the Florida Keys received above-average rainfall, with key regions such as the Kissimmee basins and Water Conservation Areas receiving a much-needed boost.
Unlike last year, the lake is rising instead of falling. October 2010 was the driest October on record and now that South Florida is heading into the dry season, long-term forecasts are once again calling for below-average rainfall.
The District is working to store as much water as possible in anticipation of future water shortage conditions in the spring.
That means water shortage restrictions remain in effect which limit landscape irrigation to two days per week throughout most of South Florida. Mandatory reductions for agricultural and other large water uses also remain in effect.