Heavy rain expected along east coast of Florida

The coastal area along I-95 could receive 8 to 10 inches of rain from Hurricane Matthew, according to South Florida Water Management District Chief Engineer John Mitnik.

At a 4 p.m. media briefing Thursday, Mr. Mitnik said they are starting to see rain bands come across Martin and Palm Beach counties.

“Downpours of rain are quickly moving,” he said. “We expect this to continue for the next several hours through the night.”

He said they expect to see increasing rainfall amounts.

He said starting last weekend, water managers lowered the water levels in the canals in coastal areas in anticipation of the heavy rainfall.

Due to concerns that after the storm system passes, it could loop back and hit Florida again, water managers will be managing the canal system in the lower levels.

The heaviest rainfall is expected to be in the coastal areas.

“As you go farther inland or to the west, the rainfall amounts start to dissipate,” Mr. Mitnik explained.
Local downpours could result in limited street flooding in the interior counties, he said.

The drawn down of canals could mean more phosphorus entering the coastal estuaries, but that is not a consideration when water is moved under emergency conditions, he said.

“Any water that we are moving is being done for the protection of human safety,” he said.

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