Rain boosts lake, spirits
By Jennifer Shrader
After more than 70 days, it finally rained in Troup County.
“It was a huge relief,” said Troup County Engineer James Emery, who is a leader on the West Point Lake Advisory Committee.
What impact this rain ultimately will have on West Point Lake, however, is too soon to tell. The advisory committee already was scheduled to meet Thursday morning for a drought update.
“It might help the mood of the room,” Emery said. “It’ll provide some hope. We haven’t had much hope since April.”
The lake did rise with the rainfall, at least nominally. The lake was at 626.34 feet at 6 a.m. Tuesday; it had been at 626.09 feet at midnight, according to Pat Robbins, spokesman for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which manages the lake.
At noon Tuesday, the lake was up 0.29 feet from Monday’s reading, but still remained 8.65 feet below its full pool of 635 feet above sea level. The lake and much of the northern half of the state are included in the worst drought classification, exceptional.
“There’s so much space to fill up,” Robbins said.
Robbins said Tuesday afternoon that if the predicted amount of rain falls in the basin through today, according to the corps’ models, the lake could rise as much as a foot.
The forecast is for a 90 percent chance of more rain today, most likely between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., before ending by 6 p.m.
The rain began before dawn Tuesday, with 2 inches recorded in LaGrange by sunrise and another quarter-inch falling before tapering off midmorning. It was the first significant rain in LaGrange since Sept. 16, a stretch of 74 days.
Emery was optimistic.
”I believe it really will help the lake,” Emery said.
But he warned the drought is not over.
“This is a good rain event and it will have a lot of benefit,” he said. “But we need many more events like this.”
Emery believes the drought that took hold this summer is even worse than the other two droughts the area experienced in the last two years.
“A lot of the characteristics of this drought are worse,” he said. “We’ve gone more than 70 days without measurable rainfall. The inflows into the area streams have been worse.”
The rain is expected to clear out Thursday before another round of precipitation on Sunday.
Today’s high in LaGrange should be around 70 with a low tonight of 41. As the rain moves out, more seasonable temperatures return, with highs Thursday and Friday in the lower 60s, lows in the mid-30s and clear skies. Normal extremes in Troup County this time of year are 61 and 37.
Reach Jennifer Shrader at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 706-884-7311, Ext. 2153.
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