FORT LAUDERDALE (CBS4) – Drought conditions will not worry tourists wanting to go sight-seeing on airboats at Everglades Holiday Park.

In fact there’s too much water in the Everglades.

Water levels are so high in the park, the waiting area for tourists getting on airboats is underwater and some spaces in the parking lot are flooded.

The boat ramp has even been swallowed up.

“Usually, the water’s at my feet right now,” pointed out boater Zach Morgan as he stood on the boat ramp with water nearly up to his knees.  “So it’s like I’m about seven to eight inches deep right now.”

Captain Mike Kent has lead tours here for years.  He told CBS4’s Ted Scouten that recent rain has been adding up to a wetter than usual wet season.

“Out here in the flats, we would normally we have only six inches of water in April, May, first week of June,” he said.  “We had over two feet (already), so we had a lot of water to begin with and then the rain just keeps filling it up.”

More than a foot and a half of rain has fallen over parts of South Florida since the beginning of rainy season, leaving flooded streets behind, along with swollen canals.

“Right now we’re moving water out of the canal system east to the intra-coastal,” said Armando Vilaboy from the South Florida Water Management District.

Right now the race is on to lower those canal levels before any more heavy rains or tropical storms.

If they get too full, that means there’s nowhere for floodwater to drain.

Water managers are using every nook and cranny to store water.

Already water is being moved into the C4 detention basin in west Miami-Dade – it can hold a billion gallons.

Pump stations have been running non-stop for a-week-and-a-half moving water toward the ocean.

The pumping will continue all weekend.

Water managers hope by Monday, South Florida canals will be back to their normal levels for this time of year.


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