Fay fades from South Florida, Lake Okeechobee continues rise

Tropical Storm Fay left the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) with an average of about six inches of rainfall across 16-counties between Monday and Thursday morning. Some South Florida locations and the Kissimmee River Valley saw between three and 12 inches of rainfall from the storm. A site in Fort Pierce registered the single highest rainfall total in the district through 8 a.m. Thursday at 12.61 inches...

Aug 22nd, 2008

• SFWMD still monitoring and operating flood protection systems

WEST PALM BEACH, FL, Aug. 21, 2008 -- Tropical Storm Fay left the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) with an average of about six inches of rainfall across 16-counties between Monday and Thursday morning.

Some South Florida locations and the Kissimmee River Valley saw between three and 12 inches of rainfall from the storm. A site in Fort Pierce registered the single highest rainfall total in the district through 8 a.m. Thursday at 12.61 inches.

An inch more of rain fell directly on Lake Okeechobee on Wednesday, adding to the six that already fell on the massive body of water from the storm. The lake hit a mark of 12.22 feet NGVD on Thursday morning. The lake level has not topped 12 feet since January 2007 and remained under 11 feet for 511 straight days during the sustained water shortage of the last two years. The lake may rise even further over the coming days as rain that fell in the Kissimmee basin flows south.

The District remains in recovery mode, with staff in the field inspecting water control structures. Reports still indicate that the flood protection system functioned well. Water managers are adjusting canal flows to conserve water received from Tropical Storm Fay.

The District has closed the Taylor Creek Stormwater Treatment Area in Okeechobee to all recreational use until the large volume of water brought in by the storm recedes. Currently, water has overtopped all walking and bicycling trails, as well as picnic areas. As conditions return to normal, the SFWMD will inform the public as to the reopening of the recreational areas.

The South Florida Water Management District Citizen Information Line remains open until 5 p.m. Wednesday. The phone number is (877) 429-1294.

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.

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