Lake Okeechobee At Lowest Levels
CLEWISTON, FL. -- Meteorologists at the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) have confirmed that 2006 and 2007 were the driest back-to-back calendar years in South Florida since rainfall record-keeping began in 1932. The 2006-07 rainfall total of 83.63 inches District-wide displaces by nearly an inch the previous low of 84.59 inches that fell fifty years ago in 1955-56.
All of the SFWMD's major basins, save for two comprising residential areas of Miami-Dade and Monroe counties, experienced below average rainfall in 2007. Most notably, the Lake Okeechobee basin received 30.71 inches of rain, approximately 67 percent of that basin's historical average, or a deficit of nearly 15 inches for the year.
At 10.12 feet above sea level Monday, Lake Okeechobee remains more than four feet below its historical average and nearly a foot below previous historic lows for this time of year. In fact, water levels in the lake have been setting new record daily lows for more than seven months. Lake Okeechobee is the source of water for 500,000 acres of farmland in the Everglades Agricultural Area and serves as a primary back-up supply to more than five million South Floridians.