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FT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) — As South Florida keeps an eye on Tropical Storm Erika’s progress, Broward is preparing for a possible hit.
No one can predict what Erika will do but emergency managers, schools and cities are watching the track and strength of the storm.
CBS4’s Joan Murray checked a Hollywood Home Depot to gauge whether people were preparing.
One man was buying water in preparation for a possible hit.
“I live in an area that floods,” said Juno, a Hallandale Beach resident.
Debbie Stokes was buying painting supplies to spruce up her parents’ home.
“With what’s been said… it’s a little storm,” said Stokes.
On a larger scale, one agency is preparing to move a lot of rain water fast if it comes our way.
On Thursday, the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) briefed the media on their plans for flood control across South Florida. They said the district’s pump stations, canals and monitoring equipment were ready. They added that central command staff was monitoring the storm and standing by to move any potential flood water that could impact South Florida.
Combine threat of Erika with higher than normal seasonal tides, the threat of flooding is possible.
“We have a storm out there, we know it’s probably going to impact South Florida, how it is going to happen we don’t know at this point because it’s early,” said SFWMD’s Randy Smith. “The bottom line is that when you have a flood control agency like this, what you’re doing is preparing the water level system in expectation of a lot of rainfall or potentially flooding if you didn’t manage that ahead of time.”
The agency said they have much better tools than 10 years ago, when hurricanes Katrina and Wilma hit, to predict where the impacts from a storm are going to be. They point out that every year they practice a full simulation of a hurricane to make sure the staff is fully trained for a storm.
The agency’s control center in West Palm Beach works 24/7 to control the flow of water. It can operate district’s pump stations remotely to prevent potential flooding.
“What we’ll do is take an accurate look at the track of the storm, potential rainfall and make the adjustments in the canals using pump stations and open gates. The objective is to move the water out into the ocean,” said Smith.
In anticipation of Erika, on Friday the SFWMD will begin to draw down the water in canals to create a “conveyance capacity in the system.”
The SFWMD is a regional agency that oversees the water resources in 16 counties from Orlando to the Keys.
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