Lake Okeechobee has risen a little over 3 inches in the past week thanks to some much-needed rainfall north of the Big O.
According to the Sept. 21 Environmental Conditions Report from the South Florida Water Management District, “As a cold front comes into central Florida this weekend, a narrow band of frontal rains are expected to develop over the central interior on Saturday and slide slightly southward on Sunday. Meanwhile, a large tropical cyclone is likely to take shape over the central Caribbean early next week. While it is too early to forecast the future path of this tropical cyclone, its large circulation and moisture envelope could begin overspreading south Florida on Monday. This would lead to increased precipitation chances early next week, and cause much above average rains during the week 2 period depending on the tropical cyclone’s path. The progress of this tropical disturbance should be carefully monitored over the next few days. For now, below normal rainfall is expected for the 7-day period ending next Tuesday morning.”
While the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration satellite imagery shows algal bloom potential on Lake Okeechobee, tests in recent weeks have not detected any toxins. Of the 28 species of cyanobacteria documented in the Lake Okeechobee Waterway, about 25% are capable of producing toxins. However, even cyanobacteria (often called blue green algae) capable of producing toxins do not always do so.
Flow to the Caloosahatchee averaged 7,267 cubic feet per second (cfs) this week with no flow from Lake Okeechobee. Heavy rainfall in the Caloosahatchee basin is responsible for the increased freshwater flow, which can be damaging to the Caloosahatchee estuary.