Friday, December 14, 2007

Rain Expected This Weekend

Hendry-Glads Agriculture Report
Gene McAvoy, Hendry County Extension Agent

LABELLE, FL. --  Gene McAvoy, of the Hendry Agricultural Extention office in LaBelle says area growers continue to plant, harvest and irrigate crops with the fall tomato crop approaching the end in the Manatee Ruskin area.  Harvesting of most vegetables was underway with snap beans, cabbage, cucumbers, eggplant, lettuce, pepper, squash, sweet corn, tomatoes, watermelon and various specialty items coming to market.

The short-term forecast from the National Weather Service in Miami indicates that a surface trough moving in from the Bahamas will bring abundant moisture to the area over the weekend producing a 60% chance of thunderstorms and heavy rain Saturday and Sunday.  A cold front will begin moving across South Florida on Sunday will bring clear skies and cooler more seasonable temperatures next week with day time highs in the mid 70s.  Low Sunday night/Monday morning will be in the low 40s.

South Florida Water Management District Report

In an unprecedented move to protect the region's dwindling water supply, water managers on Thursday voted unanimously to allow residents to water their grass just once a week. The new water restrictions which take effect Jan. 15, are the most stringent limitations ever imposed by the South Florida Water Management District.

Surface water and groundwater levels across much of the District remain unseasonably low and already are showing signs of decline with the start of the dry season in November.  The water level in Lake Okeechobee, the source of water for the Florida Everglades and the primary back-up water supply for five million South Floridians, is at its lowest elevation ever recorded for the month of December. 

At 10.16 feet above sea level this morning, the lake level already is so low that water from the lake cannot be used to replenish the regional supply.  Even with average dry season rainfall, water managers expect the lake level to drop over the coming months below its all-time low of 8.82 feet above sea level, recorded on July 2, 2007.   With out major inflows this winter, water managers indicate evaporation alone could drop the lake to around 7 feet by May.

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