MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The South Florida Water Management is preparing its flood control systems for rainfall from Dorian.
South Florida is already saturated from relentless summer rain fall and now rain from Dorian could make it worse.
In an effort to avoid flooding, the South Florida Water Management District is lowering canals, like the C-11 canal in Davie, and coordinating with local drainage districts to try and protect residents.
“At this time we are checking our pump stations, making sure our pump stations run correctly, making sure all our generators are operational and moving around some of our pumps to make sure they are available when needed,” said SFWMD’s Armando Villaboy.
The SFWMD’s Emergency Operations Center is in the Enhanced Monitoring level as of Wednesday afternoon and is ready to fully activate its Emergency Operations Center, if necessary. They have informed staff it may activate its EOC over the weekend to respond to the situation depending on developing conditions.
SFWMD Meteorologists are predicting local maximum rainfall as high as 8-12 inches in some areas over the weekend.
SFWMD is also working with the the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to utilize every available structure such as recently completed bridges that have raised portions of Tamiami Trail to move water south out of the water management areas.
Broward prepares for Dorian
They are also working on Lake Okeechobee water levels.
Rain and runoff from the storm could potentially dump up to two feet of water in the lake, which could change the salinity of the water and be harmful to the lake.
“The health of the lake is so important to everybody that high water on this lake is very detrimental,” said Ramon Iglesias, co-founder of Anglers for Lake Okeechobee. “It’s detrimental not only for the safety of the Herbert Hoover Dike behind us, but it’s detrimental for the aquatic vegetation in our lake, which serves as a filter for Lake Okeechobee and the Everglades.”
That leaves groups like SFWMD and the Army Corps in a race against the clock.
“We’ve already notified all of our staff that might staff this room to be prepared to work during the weekend, whether it’s manning pump stations to continue 24-hour pumping operations, possible debris in canals, damage assessment,” said SFWMD Emergency Manager Beth McElroy.
The district plans to lower canals in an effort to protect millions of Floridians from flooding.
“So it’s kind of early to tell right now, which of those canals would be, it can depend upon the storm track, landfall intensity, duration, a bunch of variables,” said McElroy.
The Army Corps says they still haven’t made any decisions about releases related to Dorian in order to manage water levels. However, they did do releases surrounding Hurricane Irma. About eight months later, there was blue-green algae.