After weeks of gradually releasing water from Lake Okeechobee, the Army Corps of Engineers opened its system wide on Thursday, saying the roaring, controlled torrent through its locks is “imperative” to flush as much water from the lake as possible to protect the public from a breach in the aging dike.
“Lake Okeechobee continues to rise at approximately one-half-foot per week,” said Col. Alan Dodd, Jacksonville District Commander for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which maintains the 143-mile Herbert Hoover Dike around the lake. “It is imperative that we take additional measures to control the rise of the lake to ensure we have enough storage capacity for not only the potential tropical storm activity we will receive from the latest system, but also for future rain events,” he said in a press release.
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Lake Okeechobee’s level at midnight Wednesday, when releaseds from lake were maximized.
Higher-risk level lake is expected to hit within 30 days.
Level lake needs to reach before releases at maximum rate will be stopped.
Lake-level risks for dike
Level ….. Chance of breach
15.5 feet….. 2.5 percent
16.9 feet….. 10 percent
18 feet….. 45 percent
21 feet ….. 100 percent