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Rain boosts level at Caddo, other lakes

By Robin Y. Richardson ryrichardson@news-journal.com
Jan. 9, 2013 at 10 p.m.


Wednesday's showers were a welcomed treat for the area, especially at Caddo Lake, which has suffered low levels this season caused by drought conditions.

"The lake has been low for this time of year," said Todd Dickinson, parks superintendent at Caddo Lake State Park.

The lake levels were so low this season that the annual Uncertain Floating Christmas Parade moved from the water to land.

Normally, fall and winter are rainy seasons, but the area hasn't had much rain until now, Dickinson said. He explained that lake levels are still trying to catch up and recover from this past year's drought.

"This rain is going to bring the lake up to the (normal) conservation pool (level)," Dickinson said of Wednesday's precipitation.

"This rain is good for Northeast Texas lake levels," he added. "This rain should help all Northeast Texas lake levels."

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers designates 170 feet as the normal conservation pool stage for Caddo Lake, said Matt Hemingway, meteorologist for the National Weather Service. This means that at that level, the lake is full in terms of the designated water storage for its purposes of water supply, wildlife management and release of water for maintaining stream flow and water quality down river, according to the weather blog, wral.com.

The conservation pool elevation level Wednesday evening for Caddo Lake, according to the Texas Parks and Wildlife website, was at 168.5 feet.

"The lake levels have been pretty close to pool stage," said Hemingway, noting that Wednesday morning, the conservation pool level was 168.25 feet.

"The (normal) conservation pool stage is what they try to keep it at," he said.

And although low this season, Hemingway said water levels at the lake are a bit better than what they were during the peak of the drought in 2011.

"We haven't seen many issues with it being very low as we did during the peak of the drought in 2011," he said.

"This," he said of Wednesday's rainfall, "is going to help add even more to where they are right now."

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