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Will A Lake Okeechobee Levee Break be the Next Hurricane Disaster?

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posted on May, 10 2006 @ 09:51 PM
Citizens of South Florida are concerned. Rumors have been around that if Lake Okeechobee was to feel the direct impact of Cat 4 or higher, there could be severe flooding in the area causing not only extensive property damage but also loss of lives of many who live in the surrounding area.

Lake Okeechobee levies were built to withstand a Category 3 hurricane after a hurricane in 1928 killed about 2000 people when it overflowed. Now there are reports of several sections of the levees are in need of major repairs and need constant patching up. If one of these sections were to give way, we would have a repeat of the Katrina New Orleans disaster here in Florida.

Report warns that Lake Okeechobee dike could break open during hurricane

Corps says its aware Lake Okeechobee levee issue
Now basically it comes down to the Corps saying yeah we know we problems and yes it could happen, but basically we having managing it for x number of years and we'll continue to do so in the same manner. Fixing what breaks as it happens, is what I get from their stance.
Army Corps officials downplay dangers from dike problems at Lake Okeechobee

So now we have a situation like Katrina, without the actual Katrina looming towards us... as of yet.. But what should Florida do? And who should we listen to and who will take the blame if and when Lake Okeechobee breaches. Right now the current suggestion from certain state representatives is to lower the lake by 2 feet to 11 feet, it's currently at 13 feet and is only able to contain about 21 feet or so of water. Now it has never gone over 18 feet, so could it be that all this alarmism is for nothing as the Army Engineer Corps would like us to believe?

With the tropical activity set to remain above normal for the next few years, I would think this would be a top priority for the surrounding counties and the state. Do we really need to watch what happen to New Orleans happen here before we fix it? I hope not or might start believing in some of those conspiracies about the Army corps of engineers being the ones to purposedly allow the new orleans levees to break.

The key thing though that everyone needs to keep in mind, is that in every conference, meeting, warning, article, etc, coming from city, state and federal government, is that you the individual are completely responsible for yourself. We'll try to help you, but honestly don't count on it is the message and motto for disaster and hurricane preparedness this year. And while I agree with that message to a certain extent, I still think that this passing the buck onto us for our complete safety is a little too much and the government is now brushing the failure to handle their responsibilities on to us. As individuals it should be our responsibility to prepare and survive the actual event..hurricane or whatever in our homes, however when it comes to things like utilities, highway control for mass evacuations and Lake Okeecheebee, the government, city, state and federal need to step up to plate and handle the problem BEFORE it happens.'s a map of Lake Okeechobee and it's relation to South Florida, with the surrounding cities around it.

[edit on 5-11-2006 by worldwatcher]

posted on May, 11 2006 @ 03:55 PM
Go Jeb!!!! If anyone can pull strings in Washington, I'm sure it's Jeb. Get us the federal aid we need to reinforce the Lake Okeechobee dam.

US officials urge storm-weary Americans to brace for hurricane season

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.

posted on Jun, 7 2006 @ 12:52 PM
If I am reading this article correctly, then the army corp of engineers know right now, ahead of time, exactly where the lake will be breeched and which areas will be flooded. It also means that local officials and emergency mgmt has the same information.. Now the issue is going to be, does the residents of areas surrounding Lake Okeechobee aware of this and will they take the responsibility for their own safety?

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.

posted on Jun, 7 2006 @ 02:14 PM
Anyone can view the USGS topographical data provided free from NASA.

Maps are available of the location of each levee. Population distribution is well known for Florida, etc...

I don't see why the Corp. would be keeping any information from the public.
If the lake is + 4 feet and your home is at - 4 feet you have a pretty good indication that a breech will put water in your house.

History can teach us as well.

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.

The areas that have flooded in the past are the same areas that could flood in the future, and people in the region need to plan for such.

posted on Jun, 25 2006 @ 11:52 AM
thanks for the post anxiety

More coverage on Lake Okeechobee, this time some good news:

Race is on at Lake Okeechobee

Lake Okeechobee at lowest level in 4 years

Work is being done and current low water levels should mean that we will get thru this hurricane season without a major disaster...with the exception of a direct hit from a monster slow moving Cat 5. I think the Lake will be able to handle some brushes with tropical weather as long as the worst case scenario doesn't play out this year.

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