Lake Whitney's Slow Rise Expected to Continue Following Rain Throughout the River Basin

Melinda Crow
Lake Whitney still rising.Photo by Gary Crow

LAKE WHITNEY, TEXAS--Following a weekend of a very slow rise in the water levels, the rate of inflow is expected to increase in the coming days. Coupled with heavy rains of over an inch in some spots early Monday at Lake Whinney and even more in the upper watershed, the lake level will continue to rise, despite an increase in water flowing out of the dam. Total inflow into the lake was steady at just over 18,000 cubic feet per second (CF/S), which was a reduction from 25,000-28,000 CF/S seen for most of last week.

From the National Weather Service:

* Urban and Small Stream Flood Advisory for Poor Drainage Areas
Bosque County in central Texas...
Northeastern Hamilton County in central Texas...
Southwestern Hill County in central Texas...
Southeastern Erath County in north-central Texas...
Southwestern Johnson County in north-central Texas...
Somervell County in north-central Texas...

* Until 145 PM CDT.

* At 1037 AM CDT, Doppler radar indicated heavy rain due to
thunderstorms. This will likely cause urban and small stream
flooding. Low lying and/or poor drainage areas will experience
minor flooding in the advisory area. Between 1 and 2 inches of
rain have fallen over the last few hours. Additional rainfall
amounts of 1 to 2 inches are possible.

The current numbers

As of noon Monday, the Corps of Engineers reservoir release report showed Lake Whitney at 543.68, or 10.68 feet above normal. The historical 24-hour rise was .51 of a foot. The release at the dam was 13,612 CF/S.

Up river, Lake Granbury increased output at the dam to 21,376 CF/S, creating an even wider gap between the inflow and outflow into Whitney. Above Granbury, Possum Kingdom was releasing 18,006 CF/S, which means Granbury will continue releasing water for the next several days to maintain its pool level. The USGS also reports rainfall at Lake Granbury today at near 2.5 inches.

Effects in and around the lake

Recreation facilities managed by the Army Corps of Engineers remain closed. Roads known to flood may also be blocked or barricaded by emergency management personnel. The barricades or gates are for the safety of those both in vehicles and on foot. A closed and locked gate is designed to prohibit all entry, not just vehicle traffic.

From Bosque County Emergency Management:

"Because of the amounts of rain we have seen in recent weeks plus the amounts of water being released from lakes to our north, I will be monitoring water levels in Bosque County.
The water levels maintained fairly consistent overnight. This means there are no changes that would impact county roads. With rain still in the forecast, I am still watching everything closely and will pass along any new information."

As the lake rises beyond the 11-foot over normal level, additional structures, signposts, and fencing near the lake edge become submerged, creating additional boating hazards. Those who venture onto the lake should take care not only to avoid damaging their boats on these structures but should also be aware of the damage your wake might cause to already strained docks and boathouses.

The good news is that rain chances for the remainder of the week are much lower. The overall expected rise in the water levels should taper off by week's end. It often takes weeks and even months for water levels to return to normal and all facilities to return to normal.

Learn more about the flood-control aspects of Lake Whitney here:

The Rise and Fall of One of Texas' Most Important Flood Control Lakes

Other Texas travel stories you might enjoy:

Natural Bridge Caverns Celebrates The International Year Of Caves & Karst Throughout June

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Waco, TX

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