Sept. 2, 2019

SFWMD Emergency Operations Center Fully Activated
Central  and Southern Florida Flood Control
System is Ready for Heavy Rainfall

SFWMD September 2, 2019 Operational Briefing in the Emergency Operations Center

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Today, the South Florida Water Management District fully activated its Emergency Operations Center to manage the impacts from Hurricane Dorian. The first Operational Update since full activation is available below.

  • The Central and Southern Florida Flood Control System is fully prepared for increased rainfall.
  • Water managers are confident in the system's ability to respond.
  • Staff throughout 16-county District area ready to respond, both remotely and manually onsite.
  • Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is fully activated and staffed.
  • District Headquarters in West Palm Beach and other potentially impacted locations are closed on Tuesday, Sept. 3.
  • Public is urged to monitor local county EOC for important storm information.

As of 8:00 a.m., the South Florida Water Management District's Emergency Operations Center (EOC) moved from partial activation to full activation. The EOC actively monitors all parts of the District to understand impacts in real-time and create response plans. Once it is safe to do so, assessment crews will be dispatched to areas of impact to provide additional assessment of any damage from Hurricane Dorian.

Many of the District's 2,000 miles of canals have been lowered over the past week to allow capacity to receive excess water from communities via the local drainage districts.

Field Station staff are working around-the-clock at pump stations to ensure the South Florida regional water management system is working at maximum capacity to provide flood protection and move water away from South Florida's families and businesses. Staff operates and maintains all the equipment, and they have the specialized expertise needed to keep this vast water management system ready for whatever the hurricane sends our way.

Water managers report they are confident the primary flood protection system is at the height of readiness for Hurricane Dorian with operators making necessary adjustments remotely and manually to respond to rainfall.

Coastal structures are actively moving water away from urban areas. No water conservation areas are discharging water east at this time.


At 11 a.m., MAJOR HURRICANE DORIAN was located about 110 miles east of West Palm Beach, Florida, moving very little in the short-term (the 12-hour motion has been west at 1 mph) with sustained winds to 155 mph. Dorian is an extremely dangerous Category 4 Hurricane and it is bringing catastrophic winds and storm surge and extremely heavy rainfall to the northern end of the Bahamas.

A more northwestward motion is forecast to begin by tonight and then continue Tuesday, which would keep the center of the hurricane just east of the coast of central Florida. Outer thunderstorm bands over the majority of the District and at least tropical storm conditions are expected to move over portions of the east coast of the District and to brush portions of the northern interior of the District. Any westward shift in the track could result in hurricane conditions with significantly stronger winds affecting areas included in the Hurricane Warning. The worst conditions are expected this evening and Tuesday. Read the latest Hurricane Dorian update from SFWMD Meteorologists here (updated several times a day).

  • Lake Okeechobee is at 13.78 feet as of September 2, 2019. 
  • The U.S. Army Corps expects the lake to rise up to 2-3.5 feet due to the impacts of Hurricane Dorian. The Corps continues to indicate they are not concerned about the integrity of the Herbert Hoover Dike and potential storm surge on the lake.
  • During the storm, the U.S. Army Corps is not releasing water through the S-77 and S-308 structures to the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie estuaries. 
  • With the exception of emergency operations, District offices are closed today, Monday, September 2, 2019 for Labor Day.
  • With the exception of emergency operations, District offices/operations in MARTIN, OKEECHOBEE, ORANGE, OSCEOLA, PALM BEACH, POLK, AND ST. LUCIE counties will be CLOSED on Tuesday, September 3, 2019.
  • District offices/operations in BROWARD, CHARLOTTE, COLLIER, GLADES, HENDRY, HIGHLANDS, LEE, MIAMI-DADE, AND MONROE counties are scheduled to be OPEN on Tuesday, September 3, 2019.

The public is urged to continue monitoring updates from their county's EOC and local news sources for information from local emergency officials on schools, shelters, etc. 

Flood control in South Florida is a shared responsibility between the District, which operates the regional flood control system, and local drainage districts, municipalities and homeowners associations that operate the primary and secondary drainage systems that move flood waters away from homes and neighborhoods. During storms, it's normal to see water flowing on streets and for lakes to rise. Residents throughout South Florida can find what local agency to contact about flooding concerns based on their address by visiting

Media Contact: 
Randy Smith  |    |  Office: 561-682-6197  |  Cell: 561-389-3386
The South Florida Water Management District is a regional governmental agency that manages the water resources in the southern part of the state. It is the oldest and largest of the state's five water management districts. Our mission is to safeguard and restore South Florida's water resources and ecosystems, protect our communities from flooding, and meet the region's water needs while connecting with the public and stakeholders.
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