U.S. Army Corps to release water from Lake Okeechobee in advance of Irma


The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District announced they will release water from Lake Okeechobee prior to Hurricane Irma.

"We want to be ready for the heavy precipitation from Irma," District Commander Col. Jason Kirk said. "We anticipate direct rain over the lake could add a foot to the water level. We've seen basin runoff from past events cause the lake to rise three feet over the span of a month. We want to do all we can to ensure we have as much storage as possible for Irma.

As of Tuesday, the lake stage is 13.67 feet, the Corps said.

The Corps anticipates the releases will last a short time, with future water management decisions, depending on the water level in the lake after the storm passes.

"We will only be able to release water for about three days at these rates," Kirk said. "As the storm gets closer, we'll have to close all the gates around the lake to reduce the risk from potential storm surge that may develop from high winds on the lake."

The Corps continues to closely coordinate its water management activities with the South Florida Water Management District.

For more information on water level and flows data for Lake Okeechobee, visit the Corps' water management website.

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