By BRAD KELLAR
Despite recent rains, most of Hunt County will end 2013 under drought conditions.
Showers, thunderstorms and even the ice which crossed the region earlier this month were enough to bring the soil to near saturation and reduce the danger of grass fires.
But the precipitation wasn’t nearly enough to raise the water levels on most area lakes, and with no rain in the forecast between now and New Years Day, Hunt County will also be starting 2014 under a drought.
According to the United States Drought Monitor, all but the northeastern corner of Hunt County is included under a moderate drought, with the northeastern corner of the county listed under “abnormally dry” conditions. The information was released Thursday, although the measurements were taken locally Tuesday morning.
Enough rain has fallen to keep the ground moist. A reading of “zero” under the Keetch-Byram Drought Index means the soil is saturated, while 800 is the highest reading on the index, meaning that it would take eight or more inches of rainfall to bring the soil to saturation. As of Thursday afternoon, Hunt County’s readings under the index ranged from 4 to 21, with an average across the county of 5.
The level on Lake Tawakoni Thursday was reported to be 428.94 feet, down 8.56 feet from the spillway. The lake was 67.3 percent full Thursday, compared to one year ago, when the level stood at 432.92 feet and the lake was 81.6 percent full.
Even so, Tawakoni is faring better than some nearby lakes. Lake Lavon was reported to be 48.3 percent full as of Thursday, while Cooper Lake was 34.7 percent full Thursday.