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Lake Lanier hits winter full pool

POSTED: April 3, 2013 12:21 a.m.
Scott Rogers/The Times

Johann Salas takes advantage of the mild weather Tuesday afternoon and relaxes in a raft while fishing on Lake Lanier near Holly Park. Recent rains have brought the level of Lake Lanier to near full pool.

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Lake Lanier hit winter full pool of 1,070 feet above sea level Tuesday. Next stop? Summer full pool.

“It’s amazing,” said Wilton Rooks, vice president of the Lake Lanier Association. “We’re extremely pleased. It shows the resiliency of Lanier, responding to average or slightly above average rainfall.

“It’s a combination of good luck and good conservation. We’re looking forward to a good summer season with people enjoying the lake.”

“We’re thrilled to death,” said Pat Robbins, Army Corps of Engineers Mobile District chief of public affairs.

He said hitting full pool won’t change the corps’ plans for the lake.

The lake hit the 1,070 mark on the U.S. Geological Survey’s 3:30 p.m. reading, then dipped just below, hitting full pool again at 7:15 p.m.

The corps decided in early March to suspend drought operations because of rising waters in its lakes. Releases at Peachtree Creek on the Chattahoochee River will remain at a reduced level until April 30, corps officials have said.

The summer full pool of 1,071 feet takes effect May 1.

“The goal is to try to get it to summer full pool by about the first of May,” Robbins said, “but that’s all dependent on the weather, if we keep getting rain like we have been.”

While the Lake Lanier Association advocates full pool being set at 1,073 feet, Rooks was pleased the corps has its sights set on the 1,071 mark.

“We see no reason why we can’t reach 1,071,” he said.

“(The lake has come up over 13 feet since the middle of December, and we’re fortunate (the corps) was able to store (water) rather than let it out to serve needs downstream.”

The push toward the 1,071-foot level could get a boost on Thursday, when winterlike conditions return, bringing more rain and highs in the 40s.

Temperatures are predicted to warm up fast, though, and be in the 60s again by the weekend.

The temperature change is due to a low pressure system quickly moving in and out of the region, said Matt Sena, a forecaster at the National Weather Service in Peachtree City.

“That same low pressure system is what will be bringing all the rain to the area,” Sena said.

As the system moves to the east, it is expected to bring cooler air. The rain will also contribute to the chilly temperatures.

“It’s not impossible to hear a rumble of thunder with some of this rain, but in general, we’re expecting most of the thunderstorm activity to remain south of the Gainesville area, at least,” Sena said.

Times reporter Meredith Pruitt contributed to this report.


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