Out of drought

After flooding rains this spring helped push the water level on Lake Tawakoni past the fill level, the reservoir has remained below the spillway for weeks.

After flooding rains this spring helped push the water level on Lake Tawakoni past the fill level, the reservoir has remained below the spillway for weeks.

Heavy rains in the forecast for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend may help raise it back above the dam again.

As of Wednesday morning, the water level on Lake Tawakoni was reported to be at 435.9 feet, compared to the standard fill level of 437.5 feet.

The level has been virtually unchanged since early November because of the lack of significant rainfall across Hunt County.

The National Weather Service forecast was calling for multiple chances of showers and/or thunderstorms this weekend, through Saturday night.

Heavy rains during the spring often left the Cowleech and South Forks of the Sabine River, which feed into Lake Tawakoni, under flood warnings, leading to rising levels in the reservoir.

Lake Tawakoni was reported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association to have reached a level of 438.89 feet on May 1, 1.39 feet above the spillway.

The lake reached a level of 441.6 feet on Nov. 30, 2015, which was the highest seen on Tawakoni since a water level of 441.51 feet was recorded on May 8, 1969. The reservoir’s all-time record of 442.58 feet was set on May 1, 1966.

A lack of rainfall during the summer plunged Hunt County into severe drought conditions, but enough rains have fallen this fall to pull the area out of any threat.

The Keetch-Byram Drought Index, or KBDI, which monitors soil moisture levels and is an indicator used to determine the threat of fire danger, showed Hunt County to be in good shape Wednesday.

A reading of “zero” under the index means the soil is saturated, while 800 is the highest reading on the index, indicating it would take eight or more inches of rainfall to bring the soil to saturation.

As of Wednesday morning, Hunt County recorded readings of 123 to 413, with a countywide average of 291.

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