Director of monkey sanctuary worried about Lake O conditions

With the projected path of Hurricane Dorian still up in the air, communities directly south of Lake Okeechobee still want to know if the lake’s water levels will spike. And they also want to know the answer to an age-old question: Will the Herbert Hoover Dike be strong enough for Dorian?

Among those concerned south of the lake is a veterinarian, who has cared for animals after major storms.

Dr. Deborah Misotti, founder and director of the Talkin’ Monkeys Project, Inc. Near Clewiston, is a caretaker for primates. She evacuated with them in the face of a hurricane before.

Ahead of Dorian, they will try something different.

“We’re trying to hold out,” Misotti said. “Our night houses are all 200 mile an hour wind loads. They will be safe within there. Our biggest problem will be the flooding if it happens, and we need to know.”

The sanctuary is south of Clewiston and the Lake O dike.

“Our biggest concern is what’s happening with the dike,” Misotti said. “We would really like to know how confident are they that this dike is going to hold?”

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the state completed its pre-storm inspection of Herbert Hoover Dike and found no issues Thursday.

And South Florida Water Management District announced Thursday it will temporally close navigation locks to boaters traveling to and from Lake O at 3 pm. Saturday.

“A couple years ago, we had real bad storms around this area,” neighbor David Castro said. “So luckily the dike held off, and they’ve done a lot of repairs on it. So really, truly not too much a concern.”

Reporter:Stephanie Byrne
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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