District Raises Activation Level of Emergency Operations Center

News Release

Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) officials have raised the activation level of the District's Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to Level 1 as they continue to monitor Hurricane Irma. The EOC provides direction regarding District activities during an emergency weather event.

The District is evaluating potential impacts from the storm that could occur throughout its 16-county region. Numerous lake levels in Northwest Hillsborough County were above normal operating levels. Water control structures have been and remain open, which is increasing water storage capacity. The District continues to monitor all lakes within its jurisdiction and respond appropriately to prepare for the event.

Level 1 activation is utilized when a specific weather situation has developed into an emergency. Level 1 is full activation, and the EOC will:

* Engage appropriate District emergency personnel to support the EOC operations.
* Suspend normal departmental functions throughout the District that might interfere with emergency operations.
* Monitor water levels and operate water control structures on all District-managed water bodies throughout the District's 16–county area.
Present daily situation reports to the State EOC and maintain direct communications with the state and affected county EOCs.
* Ensure current event information is distributed to all District staff.

The EOC also directs District field crews, responds to requests from the State EOC, and provides water resource updates to state and local emergency management agencies, the media, and the general public. The District EOC will expand to include additional emergency personnel as the situation demands.

Information concerning District-related meeting cancellations and office closures will also be provided to the media and made available on the District's website at "WaterMatters.org":http://www.WaterMatters.org.