District website provides information to help prepare for Hurricane Matthew

PALATKA, Fla., Oct. 4, 2016 — With the likelihood of Hurricane Matthew nearing the coasts of east-central and northeast Florida later this week, the St. Johns River Water Management District reminds property owners to be prepared for heavy rains by cleaning debris from storm drains and reporting clogged ditches to local governments in advance of the storm. The public also is encouraged to bookmark the storm page on the district’s website, www.sjrwmd.com/storm, for easy access to flooding information, water levels and other resources.

“The district’s website is an excellent resource for information and links to flood statements and warnings, river stages, and local government emergency contacts,” said St. Johns River Water Management District Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle. “Our emergency operations team is closely monitoring the storm’s path and water levels so we can provide information to the public and be prepared to assist our local government partners and other regional and state agencies as needed, should Hurricane Matthew impact Florida.”

Water storage is available in both the Upper St. Johns River and Upper Ocklawaha River. Structures, such as locks, spillways, pump stations, levees and canals, in the headwaters of the St. Johns River in Brevard and Indian River counties and in the Harris Chain of Lakes in Lake County are the only controls the district has of water levels.

Even without the hurricane making landfall in Florida, the district urges the public to use caution when visiting district lands over the next week, as saturated soils and strong winds can cause trees to be uprooted and limbs to break and fall without warning. Some lands may be closed based on conditions. For information about district land closings, visit www.sjrwmd.com/recreation/announcements.html.

For information about office closings, visit the www.sjrwmd.com website or call the Palatka headquarters switchboard at 800-451-7106.