Water-Related News

Kissimmee Chain of Lakes, headwaters of Everglades, at near record levels — and rising

Port Hatchineha along the shores of Lake Hatchineha was spared from major damage during Hurricane Ian. But the neighborhood has seen the water rise precipitously in the past week, and it might still be rising.

According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the waterways along the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes are at near-record levels and have not crested yet, days since the storm dumped a deluge of rain on the watershed, which stretches as far north as Orlando.

“These lakes are experiencing record high water levels due to the historic level of rainfall they experienced in Hurricane Ian,” Michelle Roberts, chief of corporate communications for the corps in Jacksonville, said in an email.

Lake Hatchineha, one of several waterways within the headwaters of the Everglades, had a water level Tuesday of 54.49 inches, according to the corps' website. Lake Kissimmee, to the south of Hatchineha, had reached 54.16 inches.

While the water is high, it is still more than a foot below the highest historic level for the 31,388-acre Lake Kissimmee. The historic range of water levels has varied from 41.8 feet to 55.57 feet, according to the Polk County Water Atlas, found online at Polk.WaterAtlas.USF.edu.