Coming off one of the wettest years on record and the last couple of heavy rain events, the lakes have reached levels we haven't seen in a long time. So let's look at the lake level projections through this summer.
For the first time in six years Lake Travis is full. Since fall 2014 the lake has gone up almost 59 feet. According to the lower Colorado River Authority the water supply from Lake Travis is at 371 billion gallons.
The highest level ever for Travis happened on Christmas in 1991 as it climbed to a point where the level was only three and half feet away from the spillway at Mansfield Dam. The low point of 614' happened during the one of the worst droughts in history.
Even Lake Buchanan looks totally different and very healthy. It's at the highest level in eight years. We've seen a 29 foot rise since late 2014.
Still six feet away from the record high level that also occurred in December 1991. The lowest level was recorded on September 9, 1952 at 983'.
Is there a correlation between El Nino and full lakes? Looking back at the last 20 years. Every time we had an El Nino event delivering a higher frequency of heavy rain events we had full lakes by the spring and summer especially in the mid to late 90’s during a very strong El Nino event.
How will the lakes look this summer? El Nino is showing signs of weakening in the coming months.
But it looks like the weather pattern will stay active keeping the area with near or slightly above average rainfall this spring and summer.
Based on this outlook the LCRA projects Lake Travis will drop to 665’ by the end of summer. If it stays dry the worst case scenario is 652' by Labor Day.
The Lake Buchanan projection shows it staying steady through the summer.
If you have a weather question feel free to email Zack or check him out on Twitter or Facebook.