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FEMA flood zone mapping: STILL not for around Lake Okeechobee

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Published on Dec 3, 2010

The Federal Emergency Management Agency of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security continues to not do flood zone mapping in the area of Lake Okeechobee -- acknowledged as being among the highest risk areas for flooding -- where nearly 3,000 lives were lost during hurricane-related floods in September of both 1926 and 1928.

Also see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KpkhJg...

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November 2009

(Excerpts)

FEMA has had to make some hard decisions lately and that includes mapping dambreak model results for use in Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) in south Florida. While Florida does not have the magnitude levee issues present in California, we do have one major problem: a 140 mile levee surrounding Lake Okeechobee does not meet 44 CFR 65.10. . . The USACE has embarked on a $10M/mile repair project, but in the interim, FEMA is using results from the USACEs 2-D dambreak modeling, performed by Taylor Engineering, to develop new FIRMs. FEMA is working in concert with State agencies and the USACE to make sure inundation mapping results are appropriate for use on DFIRMS. Many technical, political, and practical issues have formed the mapping policy which will result in a better understanding of the risks surrounding the Dike.

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The FEMA sponsored Florida Catastrophic Planning (FLCP) Initiative, which began in November 2006, consider two large-scale incidents resulting in projected consequences of catastrophic proportions: a breach of the Herbert Hoover Dike (HHD) around the waters of Lake Okeechobee and a Category 5 hurricane impacting the entire South Florida peninsula, which has a population of nearly seven million. . . .
The November 2007 Workshop focused on coordination across these levels of government in planning to address identified gaps and challenges.
The June 2008 Workshop refined the vertically and horizontally integrated rough draft catastrophic planning pieces.
The November 2008 Workshop further identified and began to address gaps and challenges identified throughout the planning process.
More: http://www.floridadisaster.org/catast...

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June 2007 Workshop Report
http://www.floridadisaster.org/eoc/eo...
(Excerpt)
The threat of catastrophic impacts from a Category 5 hurricane making landfall in South Florida, coupled with concern over the integrity of the Herbert Hoover Dike around Lake Okeechobee prompted FEMA and the State of Florida to begin planning for a catastrophic event that early estimates say would put most of South Florida under one to four feet of water for weeks, destroy the homes of 60 percent of the population, leave four million people without electricity, and cripple the state's transportation infrastructure.

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This clip is from: http://home.fema.gov/medialibrary/med...

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HERBERT HOOVER DIKE SEEPAGE REMEDIAL DESIGN CONCEPTS
29th Annual U.S. Society on Dams (USSD) Conference
Nashville, Tennessee - April 20-24, 2009
http://ussdams.com/proceedings/2009Pr...
(Excerpt)
A significant reason for seepage concerns at HHD arises from lack of hydraulic controls. Lake Okeechobee is operated according to a regulation schedule, but water managerslack the control needed to release enough water during high inflow periods. Outletcapacity is dwarfed by large inflows during high lake events as no emergency spillwayexists, and water continues to accumulate within the lake. To put the volume inperspective, each one foot increase of lake elevation roughly corresponds to 450,000acre-feet (or 19.6 billion cubic feet) of water. The ability to regulate lake stages is furtherhampered by seepage-related concerns which exist for lake stages within the regulation schedule (i.e. normal hydrologic events). Ditches at the toe of HHD (Figure 2),historically constructed to remove excess water from adjacent agricultural lands are problematic. Their geometry increases instability potential, and they are connected todrainage canals which fluctuate with harvest seasons and the needs of independent drainage districts which operate several large pump stations. No continuous features exist at HHD to relieve excess pore pressures, control seepage, and arrest material piping during elevated lake levels.

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