SFWMD Continues Emergency Action to Address Blue-Green Algae
Since Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency because of blue-green algal blooms in the lakes, rivers and canals of South Florida, the South Florida Water Management District has been pursuing several actions to address the impact of the blooms. This includes storing additional water in the Upper Kissimmee Chain of Lakes north of Lake Okeechobee and in Florida Power and Light Co.’s cooling pond at the Martin Clean Energy Center near Indiantown.
Engineers at SFWMD today began an unprecedented operation to help lessen the potential of blue-green algae flowing into the Lake Worth Lagoon. The procedure involves intermittently suspending stormwater releases from the West Palm Beach (C-51) Canal along Southern Boulevard to give the lagoon time to naturally dissipate any algae that may be contained in the stormwater runoff.
The District will implement the Governor’s executive order by accelerating the use of private properties to store additional water. The Florida Legislature and Gov. Scott appropriated approximately $47.8 million for that purpose last session.
The District will continue to explore practical operational steps that can be taken to address the algal blooms. In addition, the District is continuing to sample waterways as it has been doing and is coordinating with other state agencies that are responsible for algae response.
- For more information on the District’s responses to blue-green algae and facts about algae please visit the District’s website at http://sfwmd.link/AlgaeResponse.
- For information on the Department of Environmental Protections response to blue-green algae visit the DEP’s website at http://www.dep.state.fl.us/water/bgalgae/index.htm.
For more information about blue-green algae visit the Florida Department of Health’s website at http://www.floridahealth.gov/environmental-health/aquatic-toxins/_documents/cyano-faqs-pio.pdf
June Rainfall is Average for South Florida
Western parts of the region saw highest rainfall totals for month
West Palm Beach, FL – Rainfall across South Florida was about average in June, but basin-specific totals varied significantly around the region, South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) meteorologists reported. A total of 8.63 inches of rain fell District-wide, representing 105 percent of average, or 0.38 inches above average.
As is typical for June, the wettest parts of the District’s 16-county region were in the western part of the peninsula. Basins covering parts of Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties each received more than 11.6 inches of rain for the month. The Western Everglades Agricultural Area in Hendry County was the highest above average with a 3.51-inch rainfall surplus, representing 143 percent of average.
On the east coast, Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties had rainfall deficits for the month. Eastern Broward County saw the lowest total with 5.78 inches of rain, representing 69 percent of average, or 2.65 inches below average. Eastern Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties received 72 percent and 80 percent of their monthly averages, respectively.
Other rainfall totals included:
- Lake Okeechobee recorded 7.87 inches of direct rainfall, representing 110 percent of average, or 0.73 inches above average.
- Martin and St. Lucie counties received 7.17 inches of rain, representing 104 percent of average, or 0.25 inches above average.
- Rainfall totals in the Water Conservation Areas (WCAs) were below average. WCAs 1 and 2 received 6.16 inches of rain, representing 82 percent of average, or 1.35 inches below average. WCA 3 received 8.2 inches of rain, representing 96 percent of average, or 0.36 inches below average.
- The Upper and Lower Kissimmee basins were near their averages for the month. The Upper Kissimmee received 7.61 inches of rain, representing 96 percent of average, or 0.3 inches below average. The Lower Kissimmee received 8.3 inches of rain, representing 109 percent of average, or 0.7 inches above average.
South Florida Wet Season Facts
On average, South Florida’s wet season begins around May 20 and ends around Oct. 13, lasting for about 21 weeks.
- Typically, about two-thirds of annual rains fall during the wet season, or approximately 35 inches out of 52 inches.
- June is usually South Florida’s wettest month.
- The wet season has three general phases:
- Memorial Day weekend through July 4 weekend, which are typically the wettest six weeks of the year.
- Early July through mid-August, which are hotter and often drier.
- Late August through October, which are characterized by highly variable rainfall mainly due to tropical activity and cold fronts.
More information is available at:
Malteser International Americas Issues Hurricane Preparedness Tips for 2016 Season
MIAMI — With experts predicting a more active hurricane season this year, the Miami-based global humanitarian organization Malteser International Americas has released a guide with recommended protocols to follow before, during and after a storm.
“Education and preparation are of paramount importance for those living in hurricane zones,” said Ravi Tripptrap, Executive Director of Malteser International Americas. “While the nuances of particular locations and orders from local authorities will help inform what action to take, residents should prepare for all scenarios.”
- EDUCATION: Know and monitor the early warning systems available (on radio, TV, internet, cell phone); Have knowledge of the closest government-designated shelter and of your evacuation routes.
- EVACUATION: Ensure your vehicle is fueled-up and your evacuation carry-on emergency kit ready in case you need to leave (keep it light: ID, small valuables, cell-phone, radio, flashlight, spare batteries, maps, whistle, energy food & water, small first-aid kit, essential medicines, prescription glasses, adequate clothing and shoes).
- HIBERNATION: Store food, water, medical supplies and other basic commodities before the hurricane (to last up to 3 days); Secure your possession/house against high winds: garden/patio tables & chairs and other outdoor furniture, motorbikes, bicycles, signs, fences, doors, gates, external lights; rain gutters, trim dead branches from nearby trees; If your house has no shutters, plan to tape or board your windows to prevent shattering, secure your doors against high winds.
Additional information on what to do before, during and after a hurricane is available at Malteser International Americas Hurricane Preparedness Tips.
For more information and links for social media: http://prlog.org/12562314
About Us: Malteser International Americas is a global humanitarian organization with a mission of supporting the vulnerable and marginalized so that they may live a healthy life with dignity. Through our recently established U.S. headquarters, Malteser International Americas provides immediate disaster response and preparedness as well as vital healthcare and nutrition to vulnerable people in North America, Latin America and the Caribbean.
Pruning to Prevent Hurricane Damage
Are your trees ready for the next storm?
PALMDALE, Fla. – Hurricane season starts June 1 and with hurricanes, sometimes property damage occurs. Not all damage occurring during a storm is a result of high winds alone. Property damage can also be a result of falling trees and flying landscape debris. The key to minimizing your risk against property damage is storm preparedness. There is no such thing as a hurricane-resistant landscape but with proper care and timely maintenance overseen by a certified arborist, trees can be more resistant to storm damage.
“Pruning is vital to hurricane damage prevention,” says Senior Forester Calin Ionita, Florida Forest Service. “A strong, deep-rooted tree may not fall during a storm, but weak limbs in the canopy may. Broken, dead and damaged limbs can be torn from trees during a storm and turned into dangerous projectiles.”
Four easy steps to preparing your trees for hurricane season:
- Choose a tree to plant that has a strong root system, trunks, and branches. There are certain species of trees that are more wind-resistant than others.
- Plant trees away from the house and power lines. In 10-15 years, your tree will be a lot bigger than when you planted it.
- Once trees have established themselves, properly prune your trees. Proper pruning will encourage the development of a sturdy, well-spaced framework of healthy branches around a central leader. Thin out the canopy edge, allowing air to pass through freely.
- Consider hiring an arborist certified by the International Society of Arboriculture to prune if you feel uncomfortable doing it yourself.
“Don’t feel you have to go chainsaw crazy,” says Calin. “Good pruning practices rarely remove more than 1/3 of the crown, as known as topping. Topping removes so much of the crown that it upsets an older tree’s well-developed crown to root ratio and temporarily cuts off its food-making ability. The tree goes into shock and readily produces new shoots. With the proper care and preparation, most trees are fairly resilient to storms, and although they may sustain damage, many will recover.”
You can’t control the weather, but with the help of a qualified local Senior Forester, you can take positive steps to mitigate its effects on your trees. If you have questions about tree care, identification, tree diseases, or pests and insects, please contact Senior Forester Calin Ionita, Florida Forest Service at (863) 655-6409.
The Florida Forest Service, a division of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, manages more than 1 million acres of state forests, provides management assistance on more than 17 million acres of private and community forests, while protecting homes, forestland and natural resources from the devastating effects of wildfire on more than 26 million acres. Learn more at FloridaForestService.com
Start of Hurricane Season
June 1st starts the beginning on hurricane season. Colorado State Universities’ Department of Atmospheric Science has predicted that we will have an average season this year; with a total of 12 named storms, with two of them being major hurricanes. Even though the season is predicted to be average this does not mean that we should be complacent in our preparedness efforts. It is important to have a pre-packed “go kit” that includes 72 hours’ worth of supplies for each member of your family. This includes medication, canned food, cash, flashlights, batteries and anything else that is you believe is necessary. Don’t forgot your family pets. They will also need their own “go kit” with 72 hours’ worth of supplies.
Now is also the time to go over any insurance policies, family safety plans and evacuation plans your family may have. If you live in a flood zone, you could be asked to evacuate. Now is the time to decide where your family would go, how to get there, and how you plan to get back once the danger has passed. If you have any questions, contact Glades County Emergency Management at 863-946-6020. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook (Glades County Emergency Management) and Twitter (@GladesCountyEM).
How To Trim Large Tree Branches
By: Julie Day
Nicely healed (and healing) pruning wounds.
If you’re trimming heavy tree limbs, you have to be extra careful not to damage the bark or interfere with the tree’s natural healing response. Doing it right is actually no more difficult than doing it wrong, particularly if you think ahead to how much work it would take to remove a dead tree!
Here’s how to cut large tree limbs in your yard in three simple steps.
Poorly healed wound due to an improper pruning cut.
How Trees Heal
The truth is, trees don’t actually heal like we do. When you cut off a tree branch, the tree forms a special callous tissue (like a scar) that covers over the wound to keep out disease and decay. That scarred part of the tree will be there forever, sealed off so that the rest of the tree can keep growing. It’s very important to prune trees correctly so that we don’t interfere with this process – incorrect pruning will leave the tree weak and vulnerable to disease.
In the top photo, you can see the evidence of several large pruning cuts. The bumps show well healed pruning scars, most of them completely covered over. The “donut” shaped scar is normal, too. The callous tissue grows from the outside edges toward the center, so it’s still in the process of sealing over.
Take the time to do it right.
How to Cut a Tree Limb
Proper pruning of large tree limbs involves three cuts:
- Cut #1, Notch Cut: Cut a small notch in the bottom of the limb, 2-3 feet away from the trunk, and about a quarter of the way through. This notch will keep the bark from splitting when you make the next cut.
- Cut #2, Relief Cut: Just outside the notch, make a relief cut completely through the branch. This removes the weight of the branch, so that you can make your final cut without the branch splitting and falling.
- Cut #3, Final Cut: This is the one that matters! Your final cut should be right where the branch collar (that swollen bump) transitions to smooth branch bark. Follow the slant of the branch collar. If you can’t fit your saw into the crotch at the right angle, then cut it from the bottom up.
Common Tree Trimming Mistakes
- Cutting the Branch Too Short: We used to think that branches should be cut off flush with the trunk – boy, were we ever wrong! The branch collar is responsible for forming the scar tissue. If you cut into the branch collar, the tree will have a very hard time recovering. When you see rotten holes in tree trunks, or seeping wounds, you’re looking at the aftermath of cutting off the branch collar.
- Leaving the Branch Too Long: The branch collar on the truck can only do its job of allowing the wound to heal if all of the branch that it has to cover over has been removed while leaving the branch collar itself intact. In the photo on the right, you can see how the branch stubs that were left too long are interfering with and actually preventing the healing process from taking place.
- Failure to Make the Relief Cuts: If you fail to make the relief cuts and remove most of the weight of the limb before trimming the branch back to the trunk, you run the risk of having the branch split off. This can cause substantial damage to the trunk, as seen in the photo at right. This can make the wound on the trunk susceptible to disease and insect infestation and take much longer to heal.
All thunderstorms are dangerous. Every thunderstorm produces lightning. While lightning fatalities have decreased over the past 30 years, lightning continues to be one of the top three storm-related killers in the United States. In 2010 there were 29 fatalities and 182 injuries from lightning. Although most lightning victims survive, people struck by lightning often report a variety of long-term, debilitating symptoms.
Other associated dangers of thunderstorms include tornadoes, strong winds, hail and flash flooding. Flash flooding is responsible for more fatalities – more than 140 annually – than any other thunderstorm-associated hazard. Dry thunderstorms that do not produce rain that reaches the ground are most prevalent in the western United States. Falling raindrops evaporate, but lightning can still reach the ground and can start wildfires.
To prepare for a thunderstorm, you should do the following:
- Remove dead or rotting trees and branches that could fall and cause injury or damage during a severe thunderstorm.
- Postpone outdoor activities.
- Remember the 30/30 Lightning Safety Rule: Go indoors if, after seeing lightning, you cannot count to 30 before hearing thunder. Stay indoors for 30 minutes after hearing the last clap of thunder.
- Secure outdoor objects that could blow away or cause damage.
- Get inside a home, building, or hard top automobile (not a convertible). Although you may be injured if lightning strikes your car, you are much safer inside a vehicle than outside.
- Remember, rubber-soled shoes and rubber tires provide NO protection from lightning. However, the steel frame of a hard-topped vehicle provides increased protection if you are not touching metal.
- Shutter windows and secure outside doors. If shutters are not available, close window blinds, shades or curtains.
- Unplug any electronic equipment well before the storm arrives.
Hurricane Preparedness Tips for Home
Hurricanes can be dangerous, listening to the hurricane warning messages and planning ahead can reduce the chances of injury or major property damage.
Know your Emergency Shelters
Contact the National Disaster Office for the closest shelters.
Have disaster supplies on hand
Flashlight and extra batteries
Portable, battery-operated radio and extra batteries
First aid kit
Non-perishable (canned food) and water
Non-electric can opener
Cash and credit cards
Protect your windows
Permanent shutters are the best protection. A lower-cost approach is to put up plywood panels. Use 1/2 inch plywood–marine plywood is best–cut to fit each window. Remember to mark which board fits which window. Pre-drill holes every 18 inches for screws. Do this long before the storm.
Trim back branches from trees
Trim branches away from your home and cut all dead or weak branches on any trees on your property.
Check into your Home and Auto Insurance
Confirm that policies are valid and coverage is appropriate.
Make arrangements for pets and livestock
Pets may not be allowed into emergency shelters for health and space reasons. Contact your local humane society for information on animal shelters.
Develop an emergency communication plan
Make sure that all family members know what to do. Teach family members how and when to turn off gas, electricity, and water. Teach children how and when to call police or fire department and which radio station to tune to for emergency information. In case family members are separated from one another during a disaster (a real possibility during the day when adults are at work and children are at school), have a plan for getting back together.
Hurricane Watches and Warnings
A hurricane watch is issued when there is a threat of hurricane conditions within 24-36 hours. A hurricane warning is issued when hurricane conditions (winds of 74 miles per hour or greater, or dangerously high water and rough seas) are expected in 24 hours or less.
DURING A HURRICANE WATCH
Listen to the radio or television for hurricane progress reports.
Check emergency supplies.
Bring in outdoor objects such as lawn furniture, toys, and garden tools and anchor objects that cannot be brought inside.
Secure buildings by closing and boarding up windows.
Remove outside antennas and satellite dishes.
Turn refrigerator and freezer to coldest settings. Open only when absolutely necessary and close quickly.
Store drinking water in clean jugs, bottles, and cooking utensils.
DURING A HURRICANE WARNING
If you need to evacuate your home, lock up home and go to the nearest shelter.
Take blankets and sleeping bags to shelter.
Listen constantly to a radio or television for official instructions.
Store valuables and personal papers in a waterproof container on the highest level of your home.
Stay inside, away from windows, skylights, and glass doors.
Keep a supply of flashlights and extra batteries handy. Avoid open flames, such as candles and kerosene lamps, as a source of light.
If power is lost, turn off major appliances to reduce power “surge” when electricity is restored.
Hurricane Survival Kit
by Dr. Rick Knabb
During a hurricane, and possibly for days or even weeks afterward, electricity and other utilities might not be available. Debris and/or water might block the roads, preventing vehicles from getting in our out of your neighborhood. Help might not reach you for days after the hurricane, so you’ll need to be completely self-sufficient during that period.
Here are some of the most critical supplies to have on hand, well before a hurricane threatens:
- At least a 3-day and preferably a 7-day supply of water (one gallon per person per day)
- Non-perishable food
- Formula, diapers, and other baby supplies
- Manual can opener
- First aid kit
- Prescription and non-prescription medicines
- Cell phones and battery-powered cell phone chargers
- Battery-powered radios and flashlights
- Plenty of batteries
- Extra cash
- Blankets, sleeping bags, books, and games (especially if evacuating)