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Water Managers Brace For Hurricane Matthew

Topher Forhecz/WGCU
The Herbert Hoover Dike holds back Lake Okeechobee's water.


The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is concerned Hurricane Matthew could erode the Herbert Hoover Dike or even cause sinkholes. The dike surrounds Lake Okeechobee. It was completed in the 1960s and is currently undergoing repairs.

Spokesperson John Campbell said heavy rains could push water levels to "historic records." 

WGCU’s Topher Forhecz spoke with Campbell to find out more.



South Florida water managers are preparing for Hurricane Matthew. The storm is on track to run up Florida’s east coast, bringing with it heavy rain and strong winds.

Spokesperson Randy Smith said the South Florida Water Management Districtstarted preparing for the storm Sunday. They’ve been lowering canal levels in South Florida. 

He said they’re drawing down the levels based on forecasts by the National Hurricane Center and their meteorologist.  

“We’ve seen anything from two to eight inches, our forecast. Primarily along the east coast,” he said. “So, the canals in these areas, which would be Palm Beach, Broward and Miami Dade would have the lowest of the draw downs.”

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is also getting ready. They manage Lake Okeechobee’s water.  In a press release, a spokesperson wrote they’re evaluating the Herbert Hoover Dike. They also wrote no immediate threat exists, but locals should be ready if that changes.

The lake level is almost 16 feet high. A 2015 University of Florida report said the Corps’ goal is to keep it below 15.5 feet.  The Army Corps did not return requests for comment. 

Topher is a reporter at WGCU News.