Visitors find Thurmond Lake 4.5 feet lower than last spring

Monday, March 26, 2012 11:08 AM
Last updated Tuesday, March 27, 2012 12:12 AM
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Prematurely warm weather is accelerating the return of visitors to Thurmond Lake, but sparse rainfall has left much of the basin drier than it was a year ago.

“This is supposed to be our peak lake recharge time with the highest inflows,” said Barb Shelley, the facilitator for the Friends of the Savannah River Basin advocacy group, in a newsletter sent Monday to residents and other stakeholders.

The reservoir’s average pool level this month has been 322.32 feet above sea level, about seven feet below full pool, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. By comparison, the average for March 2011 was 326.85 – more than 4.5 feet higher.

According to the National Weather Service drought forecast, the lake region remains in drought with only a 50 percent chance of slight improvement in coming months, which underscores the need for more rainfall during the next six weeks.

“It feels like June with almost a summertime Bermuda high effect over the Southeast,” Shelley said, adding that an early spring means trees and plants bloom earlier and start taking more water from the soil earlier than usual, which in turn reduces the amount of rainfall that enters the lakes as runoff.

Other portions of the state – including the Lake Lanier region – have benefited from heavier rainfall so far this year.

According to The Associated Press, Lake Lanier has rebounded to 1,065.51 feet above sea level and is expected to climb to 1,066.80 feet by April 21. The current level is well above the low of 1,057.91 feet recorded Nov. 14.

BY THE NUMBERS

The average Thurmond Lake monthly pool levels:

MARCH SEPTEMBER

2012 322.32 feet --

2011 326.85 feet 323.09 feet

2010 327.75 feet 325.72 feet

2009 321.15 feet 323.89 feet

2008 319.44 feet 316.68 feet

Source: Army Corps of Engineers

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Watermedic
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Watermedic 03/26/12 - 11:28 am
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It would help if they would

It would help if they would stop letting so much out. Everytime it rains, the lake doesn't gain. We had 3 inches in one storm and the lake dropped an inch.

Go figure!

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 03/26/12 - 11:39 am
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Thanks for the figures in the

Thanks for the figures in the sidebar, Rob. They show that the 2010 and 2011 March levels were abnormally high. This 2012 March level is more back in line with the earlier trend.

I got a kick out of that National Weather Service forecast. It just exudes confidence:

According to the National Weather Service drought forecast, the lake region remains in drought with only a 50 percent chance of slight improvement in coming months.

Why do they even bother?

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