Lake Release Update: May 14, 2013

 Friends of the Savannah River Basin

May 14, 2013 Update


Current levels are 659.89 ft-msl (Hartwell) and 328.81 ft-msl at Thurmond!  The current ten week projection released on May 13 shows both lakes in balance with Hartwell at 658.40 ft-msl and Thurmond at 328.40 ft-msl.  Hartwell and Thurmond are projected to reach full pool (660 ft-msl and 330 ft-msl respectively) by the end of May.   The prediction is based on inflows transitioning from 147% of normal to 80% of normal for Hartwell and Thurmond inflows transitioning from 147% of normal to 75% of normal.  The projection is through the week of July 13.  The last time the lakes were at 660 ft-msl or 330 ft-msl was in June 2011 for Hartwell and January 2010 for Thurmond.

Hartwell and Thurmond are currently both greater than 2 feet above Trigger Level 1.  Therefore they are considered to be out of drought operation (see below). The 7 day declaration through May 17 shows releases from Thurmond remaining at around 3800 cfs.  As promised, the Corps is trying to maintain flows as low as they can, and still be consistent with the present normal operation management plan. We are definitely going to work with the new Colonel to be sure this type of management continues when Colonel Hall leaves.  The Drought Plan update work by the Corps, GA, SC and The Nature Conservancy will begin this summer.  One of alternatives that will be analyzed is a low flow drought recovery option from the preferred chosen Drought Plan update.  This is consistent with the Savannah River Basin Advisory Council recommendation.


Due to the recent rains both the SC and GA US Geological Survey Water Watch shows no parts of either state to be in drought for the first time in a long time.  In fact the 12 month rain deficit at Hartwell and Thurmond Basins has been reduced to 2.4” and 0.8” respectively.  The US Seasonal Drought Outlook for the whole US shows no drought posted/ predicted through the end of July for the southeast.  The three month National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration climate precipitation probability forecast through July shows an Equal Chance for above, normal or below normal precipitation and a 40% probability for above normal temperatures.  So right now the forecast is favorable for a great recreation season at the lakes.

Get out there on the water and enjoy the lakes.

– Harry and Barb Shelley

Facilitators Friends of the Savannah River Basin

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