As the rain fell from the sky like “water rolling off a duck’s back,” water recreation enthusiasts looked up and smiled with ironic whimsy.
It was so dry last summer the level of Canyon Lake was at 904 and sinking continually. The Guadalupe River was only running at about 165 cubic feet per second so the U.S. Corps of Engineers could keep as much water in the lake as possible.
This summer it has rained nearly every weekend since May and this past weekend was no different.
Startzville and Sattler saw record downpours on Friday morning and afternoon, followed by more rain overnight on Friday and early Saturday. Then more rain on Saturday afternoon.
Weather forecasters tried to cheer up viewers with reduced chance-of-rain percentages heading into Sunday.
We made it; the sun came out Sunday afternoon; even so, it was just for a short time.
There probably was a massive sigh of relief from river outfitters up and down River Road who have watched the gloomy, gray rain and high water flows chase away their tubing customers almost all summer.
Plenty of boaters took advantage of the dry afternoon to “get their boats wet” in the lake although six boat ramps were closed due to high waters.
By Sunday, the water level in Canyon Lake was up to 922.11 mean sea level. That’s about 12 feet above the water recreation pool of 910 msl that the Corps of Engineers normally maintains in July. As of Monday, county boat ramps closed because of high water are Cypress Cove, Ramp #11, Canyon Lake Shores, Ramp #22 and Mystic Shores at N. Cranes Mill Road, Ramp #23.
Inflows to the lake at Spring Branch were at 4,050 cubic feet per second and outflows from the dam to the Guadalupe River were at 373 cfs, slightly up from 300 cfs on Saturday.
The Corps is cautiously raising the release rates as flooding downstream, all the way to Victoria, remains a problem.
In the meantime, there is plenty of room for Canyon Lake to hold more water. The spillway level is 943 msl and the weather outlook seems to be drying up in the next few days.
Around the region, water purveyors are very happy to see water levels up after the last several years of drought conditions.
The Edwards Aquifer Authority was pleased to announce that the “plentiful rainfall throughout the first half of 2007 has helped raise the aquifer to uncommonly high water levels for this time of year.”
As of July 27, the aquifer level, as reported at the Authority’s index well J-17 at Fort Sam Houston, measured 698.4 feet above mean sea level (msl) – the highest level on record for the month of July and about five feet away from the all-time record high of 703.3 feet recorded in June 1992. The 698.4-foot mark surpasses the previous record high for July of 695.46 feet above msl and is 37.8 feet higher than the historical average for the month.
The Comal and San Marcos springs also are well above their historical averages in springflow. The Comal Springs recently exceeded 400 cubic feet per second (cfs), far above the historical July average of 270 cfs, and San Marcos Springs have been flowing above 270 cfs, also much higher than the July average there of 185 cfs.
The Edwards Aquifer Authority manages, enhances, and protects the Edwards Aquifer, one of the major groundwater systems in Texas serving approximately 1.7 million people.
As of late Sunday, most emergency weather and flooding warnings for the Canyon Lake and New Braunfels area had been withdrawn, but with many low-lying roads still under water, drivers were warned not to proceed through standing water on the roadways.
When in doubt, “Turn around – don’t drown.”