Water levels yet to recede to ‘normal’ along Santa Fe River

Published: Jul. 12, 2021 at 5:44 PM EDT
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ALACHUA COUNTY, Fla. (WCJB) -Even though its been several days since Tropical Storm Elsa directly impacted North Central Florida, some places along the Santa Fe River are still feeling impacts from the storm.

O’Leno State Park is one of many areas under a few feet of water. Over the next few days, the National Weather Service has forecast the river levels to decrease, but not enough to move out of the minor flood stage in the short term.

Related Story: Scallop season not affected by Tropical Storm Elsa

Several factors are playing a role in the slow receding of the water levels, according to a University of Florida Assistant Researcher for the School of Forestry, Joshua Epstein. He says pre-existing weather conditions have left the soil over-saturated and unable to hold any more water.

“There were really no pore spaces remaining between the soil particles, so they were already filled with water. When we got all of this surplus of water, the infiltration into the soil didn’t really happen, it kind of just ran off the landscape and flowed downstream into the river,” Epstein explained.

The wet season is just getting started for North Central Florida, and the Weather Prediction Center has forecast 1-1.25 inches of rain over the next five to seven days. This could prolong flooding issues across the area.

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