A deluge that saturated Richmond and Columbia counties didn’t help Thurmond Lake, where water levels continued to recede during the weekend.
According to the National Weather Service, most of the rain fell from south Richmond County north and west to Harlem, Grovetown, Martinez and Evans, with much smaller amounts above Thurmond Dam and the upper Savannah River drainage basins.
The highest month-to-date totals were in Harlem, which received 11 inches; Daniel Field, with 8.16 inches; and Walnut Hill subdivision in Evans, where gauges recorded 8.3 inches.
By comparison, month-to-date rainfall in the Thurmond Lake drainage basin was just 2.8 inches and 2.26 inches at Lake Russell, the Army Corps of Engineers reported Monday. Rainfall in the Lake Hartwell basin in the upper part of the state has totaled 3.51 inches since Aug. 1.
Thurmond Lake began the month with a pool level 319.85 feet above sea level – more than 10 feet below the full pool of 330. By Monday, it had fallen 1.3 feet to 318.55.
Current projections indicate the lake will continue to recede, falling below 316 feet above sea level in early October.
Federal authorities have completed environmental assessments to allow changes in the Savannah River’s drought plan.
In addition to authorizing reductions in the amount of water released through Thurmond Dam during droughts, the modified plan adds stream flow as a secondary drought indicator that can trigger flow reductions from upstream reservoirs.
All three Savannah River reservoirs have remained in Drought Level 2 – which limits releases from the dam – since Aug. 29, 2011.