Lake levels see dramatic rise after rains

March 5, 2008 12:42:25 PM PST
Falls Lake is on the rise, up more than a foot in the last 24 hours -- thanks to heavy rains on Tuesday.

Raleigh-Durham International Airport reported 2 inches of rain, with the heaviest falling directly over Falls Lake, the main water source for the City of Raleigh.

By 8:30 Tuesday morning, the water level at Falls Lake had already risen a full foot, according to Ed Buchan, Raleigh's water conservation specialist.

He said it's likely the lake will rise at least another foot as rain runs into the lake from headwaters to the north and west of the lake.

Chopper 11 video showed a drastic change from just a few days ago when much of the lake bed showed more dirt than water.

Falls Lake hit an all-time low on Christmas Day, falling nearly 10-feet below full. The lake rose two feet in the past two months, not including Wednesday's rise. Ed Buchan says the rains could add about 30 days to Raleigh's usable water supply, extending the supply into August.

Other area lakes now full

Durham's main water source, Lake Michie is now full. Tuesday's rain pushed water right to the banks of the lake, and for the first time in months water is flowing over the Lake Michie Dam.

Water that flows over the dam goes downstream and directly into Falls Lake.

Chopper 11 also flew over Jordan Lake, which provides water for several communities including Cary. Although it has never been in serious jeopardy of running dry, it too is now completely full. University Lake, which provides water for much of Orange County, is also now full.

State water officials say despite the rain and lake levels, the drought is not over and water restrictions remain in place in nearly every community. A new statewide Drought Monitor report is due out on Thursday.


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