"We have about 1,600 miles of canals," explained SFWMD outreach specialist Laura R.H. Corry.
"The natural Everglades went way east.
That's why they built I-95 over there.
Most of where we're at right now were wetlands, marshlands, part of the natural Everglades."
During a storm bringing 4 to 6 inches of rain over 24 hours, people can expect to see water on the roads and in swales, Corry
Seven to 10 inches in 72 hours will fill swales and roads, but buildings should remain dry.
"If you get 10 to 20 inches in 72 hours, you expect it to be flooded," she
said the SFWMD
started draining the area long before Isaac came through.
"We have two meteorologists that work for the district," she
said hurricanes and tropical storms vary greatly in their makeup, such as Hurricane Andrew, which was small and compact but a Category 5 hurricane that devastated Homestead while delivering only 6 inches of rain.
Tropical storms such as Isaac tend to be wetter than hurricanes but not as predictable as to where rain will fall.
During the storm, all drainage districts were able to participate in conference calls with the SFWMD
to coordinate stormwater management, Corry
"Everybody was participating along with the county, and that is standard procedure," she
said the bands had been predicted to hit Miami-Dade the hardest.
"Obviously, it hit us a whole lot more," she
"I think we moved 88.1 billion gallons of water."
Emergency orders were issued and stormwater was discharged through the C-51 Canal east and west to Stormwater Treatment Area 1E and Lake Okeechobee, and through the L-8 Canal to the L-8 Reservoir, she
"If you saw how quickly that lake was rising, it was pretty incredible, seeing that it is the second-largest freshwater lake in the United States," she
said the SFWMD set up about a dozen temporary pumps, including at the J.W. Corbett Wildlife Management Area and in the Deer Run community, to help control flooding.
"These are huge pipes," she
"We had staff working 24 hours a day trying to set up these temporary pumps to move the water."
added that improvements to the system are already in the works.
For example, she
noted that the SFWMD
recently finalized a deal to purchase the Mecca Farms property, which was utilized during the storm's aftermath as an emergency reservoir when water in the Corbett area got too high.
"If you can't drain into the local drainage system, they can't drain into us," Corry
said, explaining that SFWMD
received at least 1,000 calls from individuals who were panicking when they saw water levels rising near their homes.
"It's the homeowners' association in your community that needs to be able to take care of that," she
said, making sure that drains, culverts and swales are cleared and maintained so they handle the water.
For more information about the SFWMD's storm response, visit www.sfwmd.gov.
ABOVE: SFWMD outreach specialist Laura R.H. Corry at the LGLA meeting.