Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Report from South Florida Water Management District

August 27, 2012

Gabe Margasak
South Florida Water Management District
Office: (561) 682-2800 or Cellular: (561) 670-1245

SFWMD Taking Emergency Action to Move Historic Flows from Tropical Storm Isaac

Regional flood control system pumping at full capacity

24-Hour Rainfall Estimate

West Palm Beach, FL —The South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) has taken emergency action to help reduce flooding from Tropical Storm Isaac in western Palm Beach County, utilized an emergency detention basin in Miami-Dade County and dispatched divers to remove canal debris in Homestead.

This afternoon, an additional 6 inches of rain from a trailing storm feeder band fell across the east coast, from Miami-Dade County to the Kissimmee River north of Lake Okeechobee. This is on top of 3.5 inches that fell during the height of the storm on Sunday night and the District-wide 7-day average rainfall totals of 5.57 inches. This average includes more than 10 inches of rain in Palm Beach County and significant rainfall on the lower east coast and areas surrounding the lake.

As a result, some communities are experiencing localized flooding and high water in lakes, swales and on roadways. Based on radar rainfall estimates, there was 14.7 inches of maximum rainfall in C-51 Basin, which encompasses central Palm Beach County, for the period August 24 at 1 p.m. to August 27 at 1:00 p.m. Today, the C-51 Canal is moving 9,600 cubic-feet of water per second, the highest rate ever recorded. Emergency orders have been issued to help maximize system operations in an effort to help alleviate local flooding.

In Miami-Dade County, approximately 3.5 billion gallons per day are being pumped into the C-4 Emergency Detention Basin, a 900-acre impoundment area that was built by the District in response to local flooding from Hurricane Irene in 1999 and an unnamed storm in 2000. The overall project is providing improved flood protection to 500,000 residents and to 5,000 homes and businesses.

“The District is taking every action possible to manage water associated with Tropical Storm Isaac’s intense, historic rainfall,” said SFWMD Executive Director Melissa Meeker. “Our field teams are assessing conditions throughout the region, and our Emergency Operations Center is fully activated to provide flooding relief as we move water through the regional system as quickly and safely as possible.”

Overnight Rainfall

The District-wide rainfall average was 3.5 inches during a 24-hour period that ended at 6:30 a.m. today, with the heaviest rain concentrated in Palm Beach and Broward counties. An intense period of rain during a 3-hour span overnight Sunday and into early Monday morning left several areas with localized flooding.

Significant rainfall was recorded in the following areas:

· Wellington and the Acreage, Palm Beach County – 8 inches
· Canal Point near Lake Okeechobee - 9.50 inches
· Sunrise, Broward County - 6.4 inches
· Homestead, Miami-Dade County – 5.5 inches
· Eastern Caloosahatchee, Lee County – 2 to 3 inches
· Eastern Collier County and Southern Golden Gate Estates – 3 inches

In addition to its pre-storm activities and post-storm emergency orders, the District has taken the following actions:

· Dispatched rapid response assessment teams to provide real-time ground information, supplementing automated data gauges and field crews
· Focusing resources on areas receiving the heaviest rainfall – Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties
· Moving water away from populated regions through the canal system to areas that have storage and to tide
· Continuing coordination with county officials and drainage districts to enhance the ability of local drainage facilities to route excess runoff into the District canal system
· Temporarily closed a section of the Kissimmee River for public health, safety and welfare

The District continues coordinating information with the state Emergency Operations Center as well as federal and local partners. The District will continue to closely monitor conditions around the clock.

To report flooding or damaged or blocked water control structures, call the SFWMD Citizen Information Line toll-free at (877) 429-1294.

For updates in case of an emergency, residents and visitors can follow the District’s Twitter feed (@SFWMD) and its list of weather and emergency management tweeters related to South Florida (@SFWMD/emermanagement).

About the South Florida Water Management District

The South Florida Water Management District is a regional, governmental agency that oversees the water resources in the southern half of the state – 16 counties from Orlando to the Keys. It is the oldest and largest of the state’s five water management districts. The agency mission is to manage and protect water resources of the region by balancing and improving water quality, flood control, natural systems and water supply. A key initiative is cleanup and restoration of the Everglades.

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