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Did Two Day Rain Event Help Lake Levels?

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(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Jeff Ray
Jeff joined CBS 11 and TXA 21 in December 2010. He came to North T...
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NORTH TEXAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – If you buy your water from a city, then you need it to rain.

Most of the six million people who live here in North Texas get their water from the man-made reservoirs. This last rain helped our low water supplies, but it left many wanting more.

It was the biggest rain North Texas has seen since last spring. Two days of a near steady, widespread soaking, up to six inches total in parts of Van Zandt county.

Bob Carle, the hydrologist at the National Weather Service, was glad to see the heaviest rain land in the southeast third of our area.

“It’s going to be really good because down in here this area was in the exceptional drought category . This should improve conditions down in there.”

January typical gets a little more than two inches of rain. The DFW airport (our official climate site) recorded almost three-and-a half inches in just 48 hours. It is a good time of year to get a real soaking rain, a large portion of it ends up in the water supply.

“Obviously, we are a lot cooler in the winter time and the evaporation rates are a lot less,” said Carle. He added that dormant vegetation also improves run-off rates.

You probably witnessed high rivers or creeks in your neighborhood; they react first to a heavy rain. The river stage on the trinity at Grand Prairie jumped from three feet to over 18 feet in just eight hours.

All area rivers and creeks flow into area lakes. Their rise isn’t nearly as dramatic; for example, as of this morning Lake Lavon was up just two inches, a mere two percent increase in its total water. Keep in mind this is the water that matters, the water that we capture to use in our homes.

For the state, water reservoirs are at only 65% of total capacity. Texas is still recovering from the driest two-year period since the mid-50’s. The latest drought map, (it doesn’t include Tuesday or Wednesday’s rain) shows more than half of the state in severe or exceptional drought.

It didn’t look like that last spring. During the wettest first three months on record for north Texas many of our lakes went to 100% of their ideal level. Then the last eight months of the year were the 6th driest on record. The drought returned. It will take more than just this last rain to get us out.

“We put a dent in it but we have a long ways to go to get out of the drought” said Carle.

Yes, after a bounty of rain what do we ask for? More.

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