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Lanier at full pool and rising

Water level more than 13 feet higher since December

POSTED: April 3, 2013 5:12 p.m.
 

GAINESVILLE — Lake Lanier has hit winter full pool of 1,070 feet above sea level.

Next stop? Summer full pool.

“It’s amazing,” said Wilton Rooks, vice president of the Lake Lanier Association. “We’re extremely pleased. It shows the resiliency of Lanier, responding to average or slightly above average rainfall.

“It’s a combination of good luck and good conservation. We’re looking forward to a good summer season with people enjoying the lake.”

Pat Robbins, Army Corps of Engineers Mobile District chief of public affairs, said the agency was “thrilled to death,” but noted that hitting full pool won’t change the corps’ plans for the lake.

Lanier hit the 1,070 mark on the U.S. Geological Survey’s 3:30 p.m. Tuesday reading, then dipped just below, hitting full pool again at 7:15 p.m.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the lake stood at 1070.06.

The corps decided in early March to suspend drought operations because of rising waters in its lakes.

Releases at Peachtree Creek on the Chattahoochee River will remain at a reduced level until April 30, corps officials have said.

The summer full pool of 1,071 feet takes effect May 1.

“The goal is to try to get it to summer full pool by about the first of May,” Robbins said, “but that’s all dependent on the weather, if we keep getting rain like we have been.”

While the lake association advocates full pool being set at 1,073 feet, Rooks was pleased the corps has its sights set on the 1,071 mark.

“We see no reason why we can’t reach 1,071,” he said.

“The lake has come up over 13 feet since the middle of December, and we’re fortunate [the corps] was able to store [water] rather than let it out to serve needs downstream.”

The push toward the 1,071-foot level could get a boost Thursday, when winterlike conditions return, bringing more rain and a high temperature just above 40 degrees.

Temperatures are predicted to warm up fast, though, and be in the 60s to low-70s again by the weekend.

The temperature change is due to a low pressure system quickly moving in and out of the region, said Matt Sena, a forecaster at the National Weather Service in Peachtree City.

“That same low pressure system is what will be bringing all the rain to the area,” Sena said.

As the system moves to the east, it is expected to bring cooler air. The rain will also contribute to the chilly temperatures.

“It’s not impossible to hear a rumble of thunder with some of this rain, but in general we’re expecting most of the thunderstorm activity to remain south of the area, at least,” Sena said.

 

Meredith Pruitt of the FCN regional staff contributed to this report.

 

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