District monitoring tropical wave over Labor Day weekend for potential localized flooding

~Homeowners encouraged to prepare stormwater systems to handle heavy rainfall, prevent flooding~

PALATKA, Fla., Aug. 31, 2018 — As a tropical wave is forecast to approach Florida over the Labor Day weekend, St. Johns River Water Management District staff are closely monitoring water levels in the St. Johns and Ocklawaha rivers and advising homeowners to prepare for potential impacts from possible heavy rainfall.

Ample storage is available to accept forecast rainfall in the district-controlled water bodies in the Upper St. Johns River and Upper Ocklawaha River basins.

In advance of a heavy rain-making system, homeowners can prepare their properties by:

  • Keeping debris out of storm drains and ditches
  • Reporting clogged ditches to local governments
  • Cleaning out gutters and extending downspouts at least four feet from structures
  • Building up the ground around the home to promote drainage away from the foundation

The district’s webpage, www.sjrwmd.com/localgovernments/flooding/, is a reliable one-stop resource for information and links to flood statements and warnings, river stages, and local government emergency contacts in the district’s 18-county region. The public is encouraged to bookmark the website, which provides links to the National Weather Service, Florida Division of Emergency Management and the U.S. Geological Survey’s interactive map of current conditions in the state.

Florida’s many waterways and extensive coastline make the state especially vulnerable to floods. When tropical systems and other storms bring high volumes of rain in short periods of time, flooding can result. Partnerships between the public and government entities are necessary to minimize flooding impacts, protect personal property and assist flood victims during and after storms.

Local governments are the primary entities responsible for emergency responses during storms, such as implementing state-of-emergency declarations, evacuations and rescue efforts during flood-related disasters. The district may assist local governments in their recovery efforts by providing pumps and personnel to lower floodwaters and assess damage from the storm. The district works closely with local governments year-round to develop improved flood management plans and to help communities establish and implement strategies to deal with floods once they occur.

Here is a summary of the district’s current status:

  • All district lands are currently open to public access and recreation. For ongoing information about district operations, visit the www.sjrwmd.com homepage.
  • District offices will be closed for Monday’s Labor Day holiday and anticipate reopening for normal business operations on Tuesday, Sept. 4.
  • Water storage is available in both the Upper St. Johns River and Upper Ocklawaha River basins. Struc­tures, such as levees, locks, gated spillways and pump stations in the headwaters of the St. Johns River in Brevard and Indian River counties and in the Harris Chain of Lakes in Lake County are the only controls the district has of water levels.