By Anna Ely
The peak of hurricane season has passed and there is nothing of significance to Central Florida in the tropics. September was a dry month with Lake County receiving about half of the average rainfall for the moth. The northern area of Lake County was particularly dry. The rainfall over the summer wet season however has kept the lake levels up.
As of this morning Lake Minnehaha, the reference lake for the Clermont Chain, is at 97.15 ft. MSL, 0.35 ft. (slightly more than 4 inches) below the upper end of the regulatory range. The regulatory range is from 96.0 ft. to 97.50 ft. The lake is about 0.50 ft. lower than it was at this same time last year (Hurricane Irma passed through on September 10-11, 2017). The combined flow from Big and Little Creeks into Lake Louisa is currently 144 cfs (cubic ft. per second) or 64,476 gpm (gallons per minute). As a comparison, in October 2017 after Hurricane Irma, the combine flow from Big and Little Creeks was 659 cfs or 289,960 gpm. The Cherry Lake Dam has been opened most of the summer, however the flow through the dam is gradually being reduced as the rainy season slows.
For the Harris Chain of Lakes, all the lakes are essentially at or below the regulatory levels. Lake Apopka is currently at 65.94 ft. which is 0.03 ft. (about 3/8 of an inch) below the regulatory level of 65.97 ft. Flow from Lake Apopka through the spillway is at 120 cfs as of October 1st. The middle lakes (Beauclair, Carlton, Dora, Eustis and Harris) are currently at 62.07 ft., about ¼ if an inch above the regulatory level of 62.05 ft. Flow from the middles lakes through the Burrell lock and dam is at 56 cfs. For Lake Griffin, the lake is currently at 57.66 ft. which is 0.39 ft. (4 ½ inches) below the regulatory level of 58.05 ft. Flow from Lake Griffin through the Moss Bluff lock and dam is at 26 cfs.
Hurricane season doesn’t end until November 1st, so we continue to watch the lake levels closely. We will respond as necessary as the summer rainy season and the tropical storm season continues.