Christmas rains give slight boost to drought-parched Thurmond Lake

3-foot rise of lake level forecast by mid-March

A brief but well-placed series of rain showers this week created a slight rise in drought-parched Thurmond Lake.

Friday’s pool of 315.26 feet above sea level was the highest recorded since Dec. 2, according to the Army Corps of Engineers.

The lake’s full pool is 330 feet above sea level, but the reservoir has been in decline most of the year.

The Dec. 2 level of 315.47 fell as low as 314.43 on Dec. 10 and rose past 315 again only on Thursday and Friday.

Rain gauges along the lake show December produced 4.83 inches of rainfall, exceeding the average December precipitation level of 3.85 inches.

The recent precipitation also spawned more optimistic projections from the corps, which has forecast a 3-foot rise in Thurmond Lake – to about 317 feet above sea level – by early March.

Elsewhere in the Savannah River Basin, several fronts that brought Christmas week rain to the area helped some of South Carolina’s most drought-stricken counties.

According to The State newspaper, the highest
totals were in the 12 counties considered in severe drought status – Abbeville, Aiken, Anderson, Barnwell, Edgefield, Greenwood, Lexington, McCormick, Newberry, Oconee, Pickens and Saluda counties.

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