Drought not eased by 3-7 inches of rain in Highland Lakes, according to LCRA

CONNIE SWINNEY • PICAYUNE STAFF

AUSTIN — A reported 3 to 7 inches of rain since Monday have replenished some stock ponds and ushered in humid conditions but failed to ease drought conditions, according to the Lower Colorado River Authority.

“It hasn’t done too much for our lakes in the larger sense. It’s a maybe a 10th of what we need to get us fully out of the drought,” said LCRA river operations manager David Walker. “We need a whole season of storms — a continuous rainstorm system.”

Shortly after midnight July 15, a thunderstorm swept into the Highland Lakes with the heaviest rainfall dumping onto East Lake Buchanan, Burnet and Kingsland.

“A lot of the water soaked into the ground, so we didn’t see too much runoff,” Walker said. “This rain primes the pump. We would love to see a lot of repeated storms that bring rain falling into the area that drains into the lakes.”

In the next 24 to 48 hours, a couple of thunderstorms are expected with highs near 90 and lows around 70, according to the extended weather forecast from AccuWeather.com. Thunderstorm chances diminish by the end of the week with a possible stray evening thunderstorm.

“The heavier rainstorms are exiting to the north and east,” Walker said.

As a result of the runoff, Lake Buchanan rose about 7 inches, LCRA reported. Lake Travis came up almost 7½ inches.

The combined storage of lakes Buchanan and Travis is 725,000 acre-feet of water, or 36 percent full, Walker said.

To help the Highland Lakes, thunderstorms need to drench areas such as Brady, Burnet, Junction, Llano and San Saba.

“We’re preparing for the worst but hoping for the best,” he said. “It will flood again one of these days. When we begin to get flash floods coming into those lakes, it can create dangerous situations as we come out of this drought.”

connie@thepicayune.com