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Despite rain, Lanier still far from full

Lake at about 14 feet below full pool

POSTED: April 17, 2008 5:00 a.m.
Scott Rogers/The Times

Fishermen in a bass boat cast along the shoreline looking for bites Sunday morning at Lanier Point Park. Recent rainfall has raised the level of Lake Lanier.

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Recent rains have boosted Lake Lanier levels up by half a foot in the past week, according to the National Weather Service.

Gainesville received four-tenths of an inch of rain during the last two days of March, and lake levels continued to creep upward. On Friday and Saturday, about 1.5 inches fell in the area, raising water levels from 1,056.57 feet above sea level on March 30 to 1,057.03 feet on Sunday.

"It’s been slowly rising over a time. It’s still 14 feet below summer pool, but it’s off the bottom of those lows we saw a month ago," said Frank Taylor, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Peachtree City.

On Dec. 26, the lake reached the lowest point in its history: 1,050.79 feet. It has been filling slowly since then, but spring rains are crucial to recharge drought-stricken North Georgia before the onset of dry summer and fall months.

Taylor defined December through May as the rainy growing season.

Taylor said if the area continues to receive the amount of precipitation typical during this time of year, the lake will continue to rise.

The National Weather Service marks 1,071 feet as full summer pool for Lake Lanier.

"We’ve gotten near normal amounts this winter and spring, even above average," Taylor said. "There’s no reason to think the rain’s suddenly going to stop. We should continue to get typical rain in Gainesville."

Although rain is not as scarce as it once was last fall, the drought is certainly not over, Taylor said. He said it could take another several months for Lake Lanier to reach full pool, and that it is just a process of time and how much rain the basin receives in that time period.

"If we continue to get rain in the next few months, we should be in good shape by the winter," Taylor said. "We’re right on track for that."



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