By LYNETTE HAALAND, Four Points News
Lake Travis up to 671 feet above mean sea level and 85 percent full as of this week. The cooler, wetter weather has been part of a larger weather pattern called El Nino, which Central Texas is expected to be a part of through the end of the year, according to Bob Rose, chief meteorologist with the Lower Colorado River Authority. He shared this message in May at the Four Points Chamber of Commerce luncheon.
Rose said we are in an El Nino weather pattern, which typically brings more rain and cooler temperatures.
“We are in a wet pattern now,” Rose said. May, for example, was one of the top five wettest on record.
June rainfall was also above normal. August through September, the rains will take a bit of a break and then October through January, rain chances are above normal, Rose said. “We expect below normal temperatures and colder temperatures than usual.”
“And the fall also looks wet.The good news is we’re expected to stay in El Nino for the rest of the year,” Rose said.
Even with the rains and the rising lake levels, the region is still in a drought, but a lower category out of five possible.
The drought started in 2007 and by fall 2010 really hit. By 2011, the entire state was under the exceptional category of drought.
“This isn’t the end to the drought but we’re seeing some important relief. We continue to see drought improvement,” Rose said. “We are trying to end the drought. It is now less severe.”
He indicated that once the reservoirs, including Lake Travis, reach a certain level, then the drought classification can be removed altogether.
Over the past several years, low inflows from the tributaries have contributed to Lake Travis’ low levels. In 2011, the inflows were the lowest on LCRA record and 2014 they were the second lowest.
The Lower Colorado River Authority expects the lake to continue rising in the coming weeks as high inflows from Hill Country creeks and rivers continue.
In general, conservation efforts including curtailing lawn watering schedules have helped to conserve water through the drought.