Recent rains are pushing Highland Lakes even higher

Lake Travis (Mark Batchelder/KXAN)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Lake Travis is sitting at its highest March level since 2010; about fifty feet higher than this time last year. Lake Buchanan’s rises are even more drastic, with the lake now sitting at its highest March level since 2008. Buchanan is also more than 25 feet higher than it was at this time in 2015.

The rise in lake levels isn’t new, though recent rains are certainly lending a hand: both Travis and Buchanan have risen another percent in just the past 24 hours. Two massive flooding events in 2015 boosted the lakes to their highest levels in five years.

Rain over the past week — though it has arrived during a dry start to 2016 — has helped even more, soaking the ground in the Hill Country in order to create surface runoff into the lakes.

3-10 HILL
Radar-estimated rainfall totals for Monday, March 7-Thursday, March 10.

Current rain projections show that the heaviest band of rain between Thursday and Friday will likely be concentrated in the Hill Country as a system in Mexico begins to cycle away.

3-10 7

At last check, Lake Travis is now 96 percent full — a percentage calculated by the LCRA as the level relates to the elevation of the lake in terms of the corresponding volume of water the lake holds. Buchanan is 84 percent full. If these rain predictions hold, it’s possible for both Buchanan and Travis to gain another 1-2 percentage points each. Runoff will likely continue over several days, showing lake rises into early next week.

Travis still needs about 16 billion gallons of water to fill up completely, and Buchanan will need even more than that: 44 billion gallons.

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