Water levels in 2,000 Florida canals have been lowered in anticipation of heavy rains from Hurricane Dorian, according to the South Florida Water Management District.
Water levels in canals throughout south and central Florida have been lowered and are prepared for heavy rains from Hurricane Dorian, officials at the South Florida Water Management District said at a 9 a.m. briefing Monday morning.
A wind gust of 45 mph was reported in June Beach this morning with sustained winds between 30-35 mph, said the district’s senior meteorologist Todd Kimberlain said. Winds are expected to gradually pick up throughout the afternoon and evening.
Dorian has virtually stalled over the Bahamas - bad news for the islands but potentially good news for Palm Beach County, Kimberlain said. The hurricane feeds on warm water and will pull cooler ocean water from deeper depths as it sits over the Bahamas, Kimberlain said.
In addition, a trough that formed in the lower midwest in recent days continues to push toward Florida’s east coast, potentially keeping the hurricane offshore, Kimberlain said.
The storm is currently replacing its eyewall, which could also also cause it to weaken but could expand its size, possibly exposing more of the coast to hazardous winds and heavy rains, Kimberlain said.
While two-thirds of hurricane winds usually stay within the cone, the remaining one-third may not, causing too much uncertainty to predict whether Palm Beach County will take a direct hit, Kimberlain said.
About 40 district employees expect to spend Monday and Tuesday night at the hurricane hardened headquarters on Gun Club Road in West Palm Beach. The district is responsible for flood control in more than 2,000 miles of canals and levees throughout south and central Florida.
“There’s nothing like playing chicken with a hurricane 115 miles off the coast,” the district’s chief engineer, John Mitnik said to staff. “This is what we do. Welcome to the club.”
Also embedded with district staff are representatives from the Florida Dept. of Environmental Protection and the Army Corps of Engineers, which maintains the dike around Lake Okeechobee along with the lake’s water depth. The water level in the lake currently stands at 13.78 feet above sea level.
Updates are continuously posted on the district’s social media accounts, @SFWMD on Twitter and on the district’s Facebook page. The next briefing is at 11:30 a.m.
This story originally published to palmbeachpost.com, and was shared to other Florida newspapers in the GateHouse Media network via the Florida Wire. The Florida Wire, which runs across digital, print and video platforms, curates and distributes Florida-focused stories. For more Florida stories, visit here, and to support local media throughout the state of Florida, consider subscribing to your local paper.