By LYNETTE HAALAND, Four Points News
Lake Travis hit 704.39 feet above mean sea level at noontime on Saturday, Oct. 20 and by 9 p.m., it was down slightly to 704.14. At 146 percent full, Lake Travis is at a historical high — the 5th highest level on record. This is higher than July 6, 2007 when it hit 701.51 feet msl. Its highest level was 710.44 on Christmas Day 1991.
Based on current conditions, Lower Colorado River Authority now projects that Lake Travis will stabilize between 704 to 706 feet above mean sea level Saturday, Oct. 20 and Sunday, Oct. 21.
However, this is a dynamic situation and conditions could change. Those projections could change if additional rain falls in the lower Colorado River basin, said Clara Tuma, LCRA spokesperson.
Additional rainfall could cause LCRA to need to open up to four additional floodgates at Mansfield Dam to move floodwaters downstream. If that happens, LCRA will alert the public and local officials immediately.
The recent rains and flooding from the tributaries upstream have caused the dramatic rise in Lake Travis levels. The Lower Colorado River Authority manages Lake Travis and opened four floodgates on Oct. 16 to make controlled releases from the flood pool of Lake Travis to manage river levels downstream of Mansfield Dam. If another significant increase in storm runoff happens, that may result in the need to open or close floodgates in the coming days.
Anyone downstream of Mansfield Dam should remain prepared for the potential that additional floodgates may be needed.
Flood operations are underway at all of the dams along the Highland Lakes – Buchanan, Inks, Wirtz, Starcke, Travis and Tom Miller. Flooding rains and historic inflows into the lakes early in the week of Oct. 15 continue to cause fast, high flows on lakes Inks, LBJ, Marble Falls and Austin as well as lakes Buchanan and Travis. Anyone nearby should be extremely careful. Because of the dangerous conditions on the lakes, LCRA has closed lakes Buchanan, Inks, LBJ, Marble Falls and Travis until further notice.