News Cast 1/18

News Cast for January 18th:

County seeks more control at airport

The Okeechobee County Board of County Commissioners approved a settlement with the airport’s former fixed base operator Map Universal, Martin Mobarak Prado and Urania Holdings. The two parties had been involved in litigation over the airport operation and leases. County Attorney Wade Vose said the settlement agreement terminates all leases between the company and the county, requires the surrender of all the properties in those leases, and a county payment of $1.3 million to Map Universal.

Commissioners expressed dismay at the unavailability of aviation fuel at times. They directed staff to come up with a plan to provide a steady source of fuel. Other services could include rental vehicles.

Commissioner David Hazellief said the county has overcome some problems at the airport like closing an illegal chop shop on the property. “The airport has come a long way.  I hope this settles the lot.  We can move on.  I think this is a great day for Okeechobee to get this back in our fold.”

Weather was warmer and wetter in 2020

2020 turned out to be the second warmest on record in Okeechobee County and the Treasure Coast.

Meterogologist Derrick Weitlich, Meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Melbourne, said the region has had pronounced warmer than normal conditions since 2015. He said a colder than expected December prevented 2020 from being the warmest on record.  Temperatures were three to four degrees below normal in December in parts of the region. Weitlich said rainfall was above normal in 2020 with some communities receiving 20 inches more than they usually do.

Weitlich said they expect dry conditions to prevail through May.

While they have no official data from Okeechobee County, the National Weather Service is always interested in finding volunteer weather watchers here.

The weather service said the number of days where the temperature did not fall below 70 degrees was the highest or second highest on record in many communities in east central Florida. It has also been a long time since we have reached the freezing mark in this region.  Fort Pierce is approaching two years since it hit 32 degrees or below.