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Lakes help prognosticator make good on Groundhog Day prediction

Posted by on May 28, 2015

Way back in February, I gave my “Groundhog Day” reservoir predictions for Memorial Day, the beginning of the summer recreation season. Let’s see how I did this year:

That month started with the reservoirs slightly below winter guide curve but slowly climbing, as was the guide curve. Actual observed reservoir levels chased the guide curve until the curve reached “full summer pool” of 660 feet above mean sea level at Hartwell Lake and 330 ft-msl at Thurmond Lake.

0115Dam03_t300The levels, however, didn’t stop when the guide curve stopped rising. Hartwell and Thurmond lakes moved slightly into flood storage – levels above full summer pool early in May.

It helped when our contractor completed gate repairs a little early at Thurmond Dam. This allowed water managers to keep filling the reservoir above 329 ft-msl.

Although Thurmond Lake today has a level a few inches below full pool, inflows and rains continue to feed the reservoir. Hartwell Lake remains slightly above full pool.

One reservoir slightly above full, one slightly below on Memorial Day – In effect, that makes for a full system to begin the recreation season.

I think this good start came about because I saw my shadow on Feb. 2 – or maybe because I didn’t see it.

I’m approaching retirement age and my memory sometimes fails me. (Just ask my boss, Mr. uh, uh, bossman.) All in all, my predictions in February turned out well. I’ll count that as one more in the “win” column.

On a serious note, I watch with deep concern for my friends in Texas, including my college towns of San Marcos and Austin, where flash floods continue to devastate communities and take lives.

While the Corps of Engineers can never eliminate flooding, the Corps works hard to reduce the risks all across America. Reducing the risk of flooding in the Savannah River basin remains a top priority for the Savannah District.

Our water managers, dam operators and emergency managers continue their vigilance to keep the residents of this basin safe.

Remember Texas today.

– Billy Birdwell, Corporate Communications Office


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