May has been an unusually wet month. The Villa City gauge near Groveland has recorded nearly 12 inches during May and the gauge near CR 48 and SR 27 near Okahumpka has recorded about 9.5 inches during May. The rainfall associated with the subtropical activity over the past few weeks has kept the lake levels up.
As of this morning Lake Minnehaha, the reference lake for the Clermont Chain, is at 96.72 ft. MSL, slightly below the middle of the regulatory range. The regulatory range is from 96.0 ft. to 97.50 ft. The lake is about 1.5 ft. higher than it was at this same time last year. The combined flow from Big and Little Creeks into Lake Louisa is 17 cfs (cubic ft. per second) or 7,754 gpm (gallons per minute). As a comparison, in October 2017 after Hurricane Irma, the combine flow from Big and Little Creeks was 659 cfs or 289,960 gpm. The Cherry Lake Dam was opened to release 100 cfs on May 23, 2018 and the lake levels are watched several times during the day. The flow would be adjusted based on the lake stages change and the forecasted rainfall.
For the Harris Chain of Lakes, Lake Apopka is currently at 65.94 ft. which is 0.29 ft. (about 3.5 inches) above the regulatory level of 65.65 ft. Flow from Lake Apopka through the Nutrient Reduction Facility (NuRF) is at 280 cfs as May 19th. The middle lakes (Beauclair, Carlton, Dora, Eustis and Harris) are currently at 62.23ft., slightly above the regulatory level of 62.04 ft. Flow from the middles lakes through the Burrell lock and dam is at 541 cfs. For Lake Griffin, the lake is currently at 58.08 ft. slightly above the regulatory level of 58.04 ft. Flow from Lake Griffin through the Moss Bluff lock and dam is at 936 cfs.
This late spring heavy rainfall at the beginning of the rainy season is unusual and saturated ground from the rainfall during May could mean more runoff into the lakes and the potential for localized flooding. We will be watching the lake levels closely and respond as necessary as the summer rainy season and the tropical storm season kicks in.