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Llano River crossings revitalized after recent rains

Slab river crossing at Castell

The slab river crossing at Castell was completely flooded over and considered impassable the night of Aug. 30. The crossing was passable on the morning of Aug. 31, but mud deposits remained from the previous night’s flooding. Staff photo by Dakota Morrissiey

Water is flowing once again at Llano County river crossings after recent rainfall throughout the Llano River watershed. Drought conditions had reduced the river’s flow to a trickle in recent weeks, leaving popular river crossings in Kingsland and Castell dry or stagnant.

The Llano River crossing at Castell was impassable due to flooding on the night of Aug. 30. 

“RR 2768 at RR 152 in Castell is CLOSED at the slab due to high water. Turn around. Don’t drown,” the Llano County Sheriff’s Office posted on its Facebook page at 10 p.m. that night.

While the Castell crossing is passable once again, debris and mud remain on the road.

The Kingsland Slab is running again after it was nearly dry prior to recent rains. The Slab is a popular swimming hole for Llano County locals, but the flow of the river had been reduced to a trickle by late July with only small pools of stagnant water left. The Llano River was flowing at a rate of 0.8 cubic-feet per second on July 20. It is now flowing at a rate of 221 cfs over the Llano Dam.

Kingsland Slab water level up
The difference in water levels between the Kingsland Slab crossing on July 20 (top) and Aug. 31. Recent rainfall along the Llano River watershed has revived popular swimming spots like the Kingsland Slab after months of drought conditions. Staff photo by Dakota Morrissiey

The renewed strength of the river comes from several inches of rainfall across the Llano River watershed, which stretches into Mason and Kimble counties to the west. Consistent rain has saturated the ground, meaning more water is reaching channelized features such as creeks, streams, and rivers. 

On Tuesday, San Fernando Creek received 2.75 inches of rain, Mason received 2.69 inches of rain, and Castell received 2.9 inches of rain. These three locations, along with everything 100 miles west of Llano, feed into the Llano River.

The Llano River was contributing significantly more water to the Highland Lakes than the Colorado River until recently. Currently, the Colorado River is pouring 836 cfs into Lake Buchanan, which has seen a dramatic drop in water level due to the drought.

dakota@thepicayune.com