Officials lower South Florida canal levels in preparation for Hurricane Ian

Officials with the South Florida Water Management District are lowering canal levels, preparing for a rain threat from Hurricane Ian.

NORTH MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – While South Florida will likely be spared a direct hit from Hurricane Ian, officials with the South Florida Water Management District lowered canal levels Monday, preparing for a rain threat.

“We began that last Friday and we expect to receive rain over the next several days,” SFWMD Regional Representative Armando Vilaboy said. “The system is in good order to receive that rain and has a lot of capacity currently to handle that amount we’re expecting.”

Without these systems in place, South Florida could see a range of issues from minor street flooding, to more serious situations, like the flooding in Cutler Bay a few months prior.

That’s why SFWMD has been working directly with local governments to prepare and get any extra water out quickly.

“Sometimes, during an event like this, local rainfall can be so intense that it can overwhelm those local drainage systems and that just takes a little more time to move it away from those communities,” SFWMD Executive Director Drew Bartlett said.

Pump stations and flood gates are working overtime to try to bring water levels down in case South Florida sees significant rainfall from Hurricane Ian.

Officials said residents who see their local drains clogged should clear them themselves if they can do so safely, or reach out to their local government.

About the Author:

Ian Margol joined the Local 10 News team in July 2016 as a general assignment reporter. Born in Miami Beach and raised in Broward County, Ian is thrilled to be back home in South Florida.