AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Lower Colorado River Authority closed five Central Texas lakes Tuesday morning as heavy rains continue to increase lake levels, causing fast-moving water and forcing some residents to evacuate.
“Lake Marble Falls, because of its narrow nature; it’s not a very big lake in terms of acre-wise, it’s one of the smallest lakes in the Highland Lakes chain,” said John Hofmann, executive vice president of water at LCRA . “That whole area is of concern.”
LCRA sent out a notice Tuesday morning saying lakes Travis, Marble Falls, LBJ, Inks and Buchanan will be closed until further notice.
Lake Travis measured at about 80 percent full Tuesday morning, compared to last week when it was 70 percent full, according to Water Data For Texas, a site that uses state data to track lake levels.
Lake Marble Falls is 100 percent full, Lake LBJ is about 95 percent full, Inks Lake is 94 percent full and Lake Buchanan is about 90 percent full as of Tuesday morning, according to Water Data for Texas.
“Inflows to Lake Marble Falls are being passed through Starcke Dam with all 10 floodgates open,” according to LCRA’s Flood Operations Report. “The level of Lake Marble Falls will rise 8 to 12 feet above the normal range at the dam and could be over 30 to 35 feet higher than normal at the upper end near Wirtz Dam.”
Hofmann said the Llano River watershed has seen between 8 and 12 inches of rain within a 48-hour period, meaning residents should be careful when traveling in the area.
“It has rained at a considerable rate for a couple of days on an already saturated watershed,” Hofmann said. “Since midnight, we’re seeing rainfall totals that are a half a foot throughout a large part of that part of our basin.”
Hofmann said he’s in constant communication with local authorities and emergency management officials to ensure they’re monitoring the situation.
“I would underscore the fact that if you’re in proximity to any of those (areas) along the Highland Lakes, that you pay very close attention to both weather and to your own unique site-specific situation and don’t play with this,” he said. “Take whatever precautions you need to to be safe.”