Sunday July 21st, 2024 11:54AM

As drought worsens, Lake Lanier at lowest level since 2017

By Caleb Hutchins Assistant News Director

As drought conditions continue to worsen across North Georgia, the effects are being felt in Lake Lanier, where water levels are continuing to drop.

According to data from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the level of Lake Lanier as of Monday was 1,063.19 feet. That number is nearly eight feet below full summer pool and the lowest level registered in Lanier since May 20, 2017.

Clyde Morris, Vice President of the Lake Lanier Association, says while the numbers aren't unprecedented in the lake's history, they are concerning.

"Historically, being down to this level at this time of year isn't that unusual," Morris said. "We've been in worse situations than we are now, but it's getting worse."

The latest report from the U.S. Drought Monitor shows all of Northeast Georgia being in at least moderate drought conditions. Some parts of Dawson, Lumpkin, Fannin, Union, Gilmer and Pickens counties are under extreme drought status.

AccessWDUN Meteorologist John Weatherbee says some days this week may have up to a 30 percent chance of rain, but Morris says its going to take more than a few showers to reverse the current trend in Lake Lanier.

"With the ground around the lake being as dry as it is, it's going to soak up an awful lot of rain before it really starts washing into the lake," Morris said.

Morris said that the dry conditions and lower lake levels are hurting vegetation around the shoreline of Lanier, but he also said the effects are being seen and felt by area boaters.

"A lot of things that were previously submerged are now either coming up through the surface or maybe they're just under the surface," Morris said. "There's still a lot of people who are boating out there, especially fishermen, and when they go scooting across the lake, there could be something like a tree or even ground that is just barely under the surface that they're not used to seeing...it creates a real safety hazard."

The Corps of Engineers reports that 20 percent of all boat ramp lanes on Lake Lanier are currently unusable along with almost a quarter of all private docks due to the low water level.

"I know I've had to push mine out three times already, and I'm looking at probably having to push it out a fourth time here in the next few weeks," Morris said.

Morris said, looking at long-range weather forecasts, the level of Lake Lanier could continue to drop as much as another foot before the start of December.

  • Associated Categories: Homepage, Local/State News
  • Associated Tags: lake lanier, Drought, U.S. Drought Monitor, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Lake Lanier Association
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