Lake Lanier’s level
Measured in feet above sea level; winter full pool is 1,070
Jan. 12: 1,058.44
Jan. 11: 1,058.41
Jan. 10: 1,058.36
Jan. 9: 1,058.37
Jan. 8: 1,058.34
Jan. 7: 1,058.31
Jan. 6: 1,058.29
Jan. 5: 1,058.23
Jan. 4: 1,058.21
Jan. 3: 1,058.12
Jan. 2: 1,058
Jan. 1: 1,057.79
Source: U.S. Geological Survey
Lake Lanier’s level shot up 2 feet after this week’s rainy weather, and it already has been on the rise since early January.
The lake was at 1,061.38 feet above sea level Friday evening, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. That’s still a little more than 9 feet below the winter full pool of 1,070, but up from 1,058.4 this time last week.
Gainesville and Hall County received more than 3 inches of rain in the past week, said Brian Lynn, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Peachtree City. However, he said the region’s next chance at rain won’t be for another week and the area is still considered to be in a moderate drought.
“It’s a small chance (of rain),” Lynn said.
In December, the lake dropped to 1,056.3 feet, the lowest it’s been since Jan. 16, 2009.
The storm was a prolonged event that stationed itself over North Georgia for several days, Lynn said. But though the recent weather helped Hall County with drought conditions in the short term, water levels are still down in the long term, he said.
The state still has areas of severe to exceptional drought in the southern and central regions, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor’s latest report. The reports are released Thursdays, but they cut off collecting the information on Tuesdays, so it’s unclear what the total effect of the rain will be on the drought conditions.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is still allowing reduced releases of 650 cubic feet per second from Buford Dam in order to conserve as much storage as possible in Lanier. That allows for a minimum of 650 cfs, but more can be released when needed to meet downstream needs. The average release rate so far in January is 756.9 cfs.
The flow reductions are likely to continue until the end of April as the Georgia Department of Natural Resources requested, corps spokesman E. Patrick Robbins said.