With Hurricane Dorian now in the rear-view mirror we can breathe a collective sigh of relief. As we approach the statistical peak of the hurricane season, June and July were particularly wet and August recorded 8.59 inches of rain, 1.31 inches above the historic average of 7.28 inches. Lake County is at 105% of the year to date rainfall.
As of today, Lake Minnehaha, the reference lake for the Clermont Chain, is at 97.19 ft. MSL, 0.31 ft. (slightly less than 4 inches) below the upper end of the regulatory range, but 0.09 ft. (slightly more than 1 inch) above the target elevation of 97.10 ft. MSL. The regulatory range is from 96.0 ft. to 97.50 ft. The lake is about 0.13 ft. (about 1.5 inches) lower than it was at this same time last year. The combined flow from Big and Little Creeks into Lake Louisa is currently 273 cfs (cubic ft. per second) or 122,577 gpm (gallons per minute). As a comparison, in October 2017 after Hurricane Irma, the combined flow from Big and Little Creeks was 659 cfs or 289,960 gpm. The Cherry Lake Dam was opened on August 23rd in advance of approaching Hurricane Dorian. Currently there is 207 cfs passing through the Cherry Lake dam, 66 cfs less than the flow coming in from Big and Little Creeks.
For the Harris Chain of Lakes, all the lakes are near the regulatory levels. Lake Apopka is currently at 66.14 ft. which is 0.30 ft. (about 3.6 inches) above the regulatory level of 65.84 ft. 100% of the flow from Lake Apopka is through NuRF and as of this morning, flow is at 150 cfs or 67,350 gpm (gallons per minute). The middle lakes (Beauclair, Carlton, Dora, Eustis and Harris) currently average 62.10 ft., which is 0.21 ft. (about 2.5 inches) above the regulatory level of 61.91 ft. Flow from the middle lakes through the Burrell lock and dam is at 962 cfs or 431,938 gpm (gallons per minute). For Lake Griffin, the lake is currently at 57.96 ft. which is 0.05 ft. (about 5/8 of an inch) below the regulatory level of 57.91 ft. Flow from Lake Griffin through the Moss Bluff lock and dam is at 1,428 cfs or 641,172 gpm (gallons per minute).
The rainy season typically continues through September; however the hurricane season usually doesn’t get going until later in the summer and ends November 1st. Hurricane Irma hit in September 2017 and Hurricane Michael hit the Panhandle as a Category 5 storm in October 2018.
Even though we dodged Hurricane Dorian, the late summer is the peak of hurricane season and the tropics are still active, so please remain vigilant and prepared. Water Authority staff watches the lake levels closely and will respond as necessary as the summer rainy season and the tropical storm season continues.
Meanwhile, enjoy the great late summer weather and please be safe while out on the lakes.