District prepared for 2018 hurricane season

A water control structure in the upper St. Johns River Basin.

A water control structure in the upper St. Johns River Basin.

PALATKA, Fla., May 31, 2018 — With subtropical storm Alberto having already swept through the Florida panhandle and hurricane season arriving June 1, the St. Johns River Water Management District is ready for any action this storm season may bring.

“A long hurricane season is on the horizon, our dedicated staff is already prepped for the worst Mother Nature may dish out,” said St. Johns River Water Management District Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle. “As in the past, we will work closely with our local governments to coordinate preparations, assist during a storm and respond after a storm as quickly as conditions allow us to do so safely.”

The district operates flood-control structures in the Upper Ocklawaha River Basin — the Apopka-Beauclair Lock and Dam, Apopka Dam, Moss Bluff Dam and the Burrell Dam — to create additional capacity when necessary. Similarly, the Upper St. Johns River Basin Project has gate structures to allow water to flow north, increasing water storage capacity.

The district’s experienced staff participates in statewide disaster preparedness training with Florida’s emergency officials. The agency has also weathered many hurricanes and tropical storms, assisting local governments and communities in the aftermath of devastating storms, most recently Hurricane Irma in 2017 and Hurricane Matthew in 2016. A list of local government flooding contacts is available on the district’s website at www.sjrwmd.com/localgovernment/flooding. Visit the district’s webpage at www.sjrwmd.com/storm for more hurricane and flooding information.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, most initial forecasts project that the number of storms will be above average, and several forecasts indicate an above-average likelihood that a major hurricane will make landfall in the Caribbean, the Gulf Coast, or the U.S. East Coast.