Storms over Texas filling thirsty bodies of water

Lake Arrowhead in Wichita Falls, Texas. On the left, before wet spring. Right, after. (Texas Parks and Wildlife Department)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A dramatic before-and-after comparison photo of Lake Arrowhead in Wichita Falls shows just how low Texas lakes have been, but it’s also capturing the beneficial effects of recent storms. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department pictures of the Red River Valley area shows the green grass and a much fuller lake after a wet springtime — so much so that a boat can likely take to the waters there. What a thought.

Lake Arrowhead in Wichita Falls, Texas. On the left, before wet spring. Right, after. (Texas Parks and Wildlife Department)
Lake Arrowhead in Wichita Falls, Texas. On the left, before wet spring. Right, after. (Texas Parks and Wildlife Department)

A wet month of May is taking shape across Central Texas, which can likely be attributed to the observed El Niño weather pattern in the Pacific. Camp Mabry has already observed 4.58 inches of rain — more than we usually receive during the entire month, which is our wettest month of the year.

As additional Flooding rainfall is possible Wednesday, a rescue boat crew in Austin is on standby until Thursday in the event it turns into dangerous flooding. A powerful upper-level storm is moving into Texas, pumping copious amounts of tropical moisture over the state and interacting with a stalled frontal boundary to bring the area periods of heavy rain Wednesday.

The First Warning Weather team has been analyzing rainfall model simulations, which are bringing widespread 1- to 3-inch rain totals to the area Wednesday, with isolated higher amounts of 6- to 7 inches possible under the heavier downpours.

Flash flooding may transpire rapidly Wednesday, especially in areas where heavy rain has fallen over the last week. Unlike previous rainfall events through the month of May, heavy rain may finally fall Wednesday over the Highland Lakes inflow region in the Hill Country — where we need it most.

The recent rains have benefited Lake Travis — meaning people may soon be able to launch their boats off of public access ramps. One of those is Tournament Point Ramp at Pace Bend Park.

The county installed the low water ramp at Pace Bend Park in 2014. After it was completed, a storm last June brought up the lake levels a few feet, but when water levels dipped back down a couple weeks later, the ramp was closed for the rest of summer.

The water level has to be at least 630 feet above sea level for officials to open the Pace Bend Park boat ramp. As of Monday, Lake Travis was at 630.17 feet above seal level, according to the Lower Colorado River Authority’s website. To launch a boat on Lake Travis right now, people must have access to a private ramp, a boat in the slip, or off the shorelines in some parks. However, the topography can be challenging and dangerous with the recent rains.

Meanwhile, the Mansfield Dam boat ramp requires 632 in feet above mean sea level and is not there yet.

Lake levels from LCRA

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