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WEST PALM BEACH (CBSMiami) – In anticipation of the heavy rain that Tropical Storm Erika is forecast to drench us with, the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) has taken action to reduce flooding where possible.

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Canals and water control structures in key areas of South Florida’s system were placed in the low range Friday afternoon, and adjustments will be made as necessary.

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“This agency was created in 1949 to operate what has become a $13 billion regional flood control system serving more than 8 million people,” said SFWMD Director of Operations Jeff Kivett. “We are making final preparations to move storm water in advance of the storm while also balancing the need to store water for future supply.”

Kivett said Lake Okeechobee is at a low level for this time of year, so there’s a lot of capacity for excess water. He added that the best thing residents can do is to look at swales and drainage grates to make sure they’re clear of debris.

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Water levels and flows are monitored around the clock by field staff and the district’s advanced Operations Control Room in West Palm Beach.