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Environment

After Hermine, Rain-Swollen Lake Okeechobee Surges Higher

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Tom Corser, www.tomcorser.com
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Lake Okeechobee’s water level remain near a historic high after Hurricane Hermine hit Florida last week.

The state’s largest lake has been rain-swollen all year, prompting releases of excess polluted water to coastal estuaries. The influxes triggered toxic algae blooms this summer.Paul Gray of Audubon of Florida says Lake Kissimmee also is at its highest level allowed.

“I don’t ever remember seeing it that deep this time of year, and again it’s not bad for Lake Kissimmee. It’s basically full, and that’s fine. But we just don’t want it to get any more water right now because that’s when you start getting into trouble.”

Lake Kissimmee and the Kissimmee River flow into Lake Okeechobee.

The high water is worrisome during the heart of hurricane season, when another large rain event could cause more releases to coastal estuaries or flooding.