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Rainy month pushes Thurmond Lake into flood stage

Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014 3:45 PM
Last updated Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014 1:24 PM
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A rainy, record-breaking month has elevated Thurmond Lake’s water level into its flood stage, prompting increased water releases this week and temporary closures of several docks, boat ramps and fishing piers.

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A porch swing sits idle as it is swamped by the high waters at Thurmond Lake. The lake had risen to 333.3 feet above sea level on Tuesday, about 7.3 feet above the normal water level for this time of year.  MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
A porch swing sits idle as it is swamped by the high waters at Thurmond Lake. The lake had risen to 333.3 feet above sea level on Tuesday, about 7.3 feet above the normal water level for this time of year.

Last month was the wettest December on record for the Thurmond sub-basin, or the streams and tributaries that flow into the reservoir, said Army Corps of Engineers spokeswoman Tracy Robillard.

The lake had risen to 333.3 feet above sea level on Tuesday, about 7.3 feet above the normal water level for this time of year. The full summer pool is 330 feet. On Dec. 22 and 23, 3.2 inches of rain were measured in the sub-basin. Another 2.3 inches fell Saturday and Sunday, creating a total 8.5 inches for the month.

“December has been a really wet month for Thurmond,” Robillard said. “A lot of it fell in these single rain events.”

Water run-off continued to fill the lake early this week. Thurmond, in addition to upstream lakes Hartwell and Russell, were in flood storage capacity, enabling large volumes of water to be retained and released safely into the lower Savannah River.

“Our plan is to increase outflows at Thurmond Dam so we can pass some of that excess water,” Robillard said, adding that the water will pass through the dam’s turbines to generate hydropower.

Releases were increased to 20,000 cubic feet per second on Tuesday, and on Wednesday, were scheduled to increase another 5,000 cubic feet per second for the remainder of the week. Park rangers and volunteers were continually assessing flooding at recreation areas and flagging off areas. Robillard said impacts downstream will be negligible.

After Thurmond Lake approaches normal pool levels, the Corps plans to increase water releases at Hartwell and Russell dams.

CLOSED AREAS AT THURMOND LAKE

CLOSED DOCKS: Keg Creek, Amity, Parksville, Clarks Hill Park, Petersburg, Scotts Ferry, Big Hart, Ridge Road, Dordon Creek, Modoc Ramp and Morrahs Ramp

CLOSED FISHING PIERS: Amity, Lake Springs

CLOSED BOAT RAMPS: Leroys Ferry, Bussey Point, Big Hart, Ridge Road, Dordon Creek, Parksville and Clarks Hill Park

SUBMERGED RETAINING WALLS: West Dam, Scotts Ferry and Parksville recreation areas

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David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 01/02/14 - 09:09 am
2
2
Where does the levee play

Where does the levee play into this?

soapy_725
43757
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soapy_725 01/02/14 - 09:34 am
0
0
Will the water taste any better in CC? Have they anything about
Unpublished

the foul tasting water? Pam, where are you?

soapy_725
43757
Points
soapy_725 01/02/14 - 09:40 am
1
0
ARC News: Lake is flooding. Lake is down. Railroad causes issues
Unpublished

ARC News: Lake is flooding. Lake is down. Railroad causes issues

carolouk
70
Points
carolouk 01/02/14 - 11:50 am
0
1
The levee is to protect

The levee is to protect downtown from flooding. It does nothing to help Lake Thurmond, except that the levee allows the corps of engineers to release the water they need to, without risk of flooding downtown Augusta. They obviously need to release more water and it is sad that they can not manage the lake better. That is the point of the dam. Just open it up and allow a normal flow of water to continue to pour out until the excess rains stop overflowing the lake. They should know what the settings are and be able to just set it and forget it. We have technology available that would allow them to calibrate the outlet and know how much needed to go and how long it will take to run it off at what rate. (People used to figure it out with a slide rule). They can do a better job than they are doing, in my opinion

carolouk
70
Points
carolouk 01/02/14 - 11:51 am
0
2
Do it sooner and better

The levee is to protect downtown from flooding. It does nothing to help Lake Thurmond, except that the levee allows the corps of engineers to release the water they need to, without risk of flooding downtown Augusta. They obviously need to release more water and it is sad that they can not manage the lake better. That is the point of the dam. Just open it up and allow a normal flow of water to continue to pour out until the excess rains stop overflowing the lake. They should know what the settings are and be able to just set it and forget it. We have technology available that would allow them to calibrate the outlet and know how much needed to go and how long it will take to run it off at what rate. (People used to figure it out with a slide rule). They can do a better job than they are doing, in my opinion

mc
141
Points
mc 01/02/14 - 07:58 pm
1
0
The levee!

Actually, the levee was built long before the lake was thought of. So, there was no control to the water flow back when the levee was built. My granddad used to have to help stack sand bags on the river banks to try to help control flooding down town. And it still didn't work. I've seen the pictures of people standing waist deep on broad street.

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