‘Are we ready?’ Scott asks about Lake O dike fix following Harvey devastation

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission personnel have helped rescue 200 people from Texas floods, the FWC said today. (Photo provided by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission)

WEST PALM BEACH — Epic flooding in Texas from Hurricane Harvey underscores the need to repair the Herbert Hoover dike around Lake Okeechobee, Florida Gov. Rick Scott said today during a visit here to announce a business expansion.


“Our prayers go out to everyone there” in Texas, said Scott, who has deployed Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers and equipment to Texas.

FWC said Tuesday that it has helped rescue 200 people from rising waters after sending more than 125 officers, 40 boats, 17 high-water vehicles, two mobile command centers and eight shallow draft vessels to Texas.

Scott said he spoke Monday with Florida Division of Emergency Management Director Bryan Koon about Florida’s readiness for massive rainfall. Between mid-Friday and mid-Monday, some areas around Houston were deluged with more than 40 inches of rain, according to the National Weather Service.

“If we had 40 inches of rain, in let’s say the Palm Beach-to-Miami area, are we ready?” Scott said he asked Koon. “He’s assured me that we work our plans all the time, we do drills every year and we’re ready. And I hope it never happens here.”

Scott this year pushed for $50 million in the state budget to “jumpstart” a $930 million U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plan to upgrade the earthen dike around Lake Okeechobee by 2025. Scott wants the project complete by 2022 and says he hopes the state will get reimbursed by the federal government for its expenditures.

Scott said the Texas flooding “just shows you the importance of it. We have thousands of people that live south of the dike. Unfortunately under Barack Obama we didn’t get the money to really fix the dike. President Trump has committed that he’s going to be a partner to get it done.”



Author: George Bennett

George Bennett has been a Palm Beach Post reporter since 1992. He grew up in Bethesda, Md. and is a graduate of The George Washington University. Follow him on Twitter @gbennettpost

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