It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
Florida officials are particularly worried about the possibility a hurricane could smash an aging levee that rings the 1,800-square-kilometer (700-square-mile) Lake Okeechobee, in central Florida, which provides drinking water to millions of people.
A recent official report shows there is a 50 percent chance the dike could break within the next four years.
"If there is a breach in Lake Okeechobee it would be ugly," said Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who hosted the conference in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
He said he discussed the issue with his brother, US President George W. Bush, and stressed federal aid would be needed to reinforce the levee and to prepare for a possible evacuation of the 40,000 people who live around the lake if a major hurricane threatens the area.
"I think it's appropriate not to have people panic, but this needs to be a high priority in Washington, and I intend to lobby to make sure that it is," the governor said.
Lack of flood maps could hinder Lake Okeechobee evacuation plan
FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) -- The federal government is refusing to make public maps that show how far flood waters would extend if Lake Okeechobee breached its dike, saying that the information could be used to plan a terrorist attack.
Those U.S. Army Corps of Engineers maps could help 60,000 people who live near the dike immediately understand the relative danger posed by the water behind the levee near their homes. But the corps said it is not required to release information that could turn a dam or other structure into a "weapon of mass destruction."
"We're not providing raw data to the public at large where it could also be used by people who might not have public safety as their interest," corps spokeswoman Nanciann Regalado told The News-Press of Fort Myers.
When the hurricane roared ashore at Palm Beach September 16, 1928, many coastal residents were prepared. But inland, along Lake Okeechobee, few conceived the disaster that was brewing. The storm struck first in Puerto Rico, killing 1,000 people, then hit Florida with 125 mph winds. Forty miles west of the coast, rain filled Lake Okeechobee to the brim and the dikes crumbled. Water rushed onto the swampy farmland, and homes and people were swept away. Almost 2,000 people perished.