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Despite rain, lakes still lacking

Profile image for By Megan Gray-Hatfield
By Megan Gray-Hatfield

Drought conditions go on as flood damage assessment continues

A naturalist with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said the water added to area lakes by last week’s heavy rainfall was nice but not enough to reopen docks that have been closed for a year.

John Mathnew, a natural resource specialist with the corps, said that while the rain was beneficial, the lakes aren’t near where they need to be.

“While Lewisville Lake is up about a foot and a half, we are still 6 1/2 feet below normal,” he said. “We have been leery of opening up our closed ramps because we aren’t sure if Dallas is going to need more flow to cover their drought.”

Mathnew said the reservoirs are controlled on a daily basis, and even if they didn’t flow more water out, Lewisville Lake would still need to rise another foot before three of the four boat ramps closed last year can be reopened. The fourth one, he said, is so far north that it would require about five more feet of water before it could reopen.

At Ray Roberts Lake, officials said they have been struggling to keep some ramps available for the public, but the rain has eased the burden for now.

“We received about 2 feet of rainwater for our lake,” said Mark Stewart, park manager for the Isle du Bois Unit of Ray Roberts Lake State Park. “In the middle of June, two boat lanes were barricaded at Jordan Park.”

He said officials are dealing with erosion along the Denton Greenbelt from Clear Creek overflowing its banks and are still assessing the damage.

Sanger was one of the hardest-hit areas in last week’s flash flooding. County Commissioner Hugh Coleman, whose Precinct 1 covers Sanger, said some of his 370 miles of roads haven’t even been looked at.

“We are checking all the regular spots and have inspected as much as we can, but we rely on our residents to report damage as well,” he said. “We had culverts washed away and are slowly working on getting them repaired.”

No monetary amount of damage for Denton County is yet available since not all of the damage has been reported, county Road and Bridge East officials said Thursday.

Sanger residents saw their new splash park closed after floodwaters reached the electrical pad, according to Jennifer Shumate, administrative assistant for the city parks department.

“They are doing the final walk-through now, and it should be reopened for this weekend,” she said. “They are making an effort to repair the pad so this will not happen again.”

No additional funds are needed to fix the park, she said, because it was still the responsibility of the contractor.

Lamont Bain, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said that even with last week’s heavy rain, reports released Tuesday show the area continues to suffer from extreme to severe drought conditions.

“We prefer, from an impact standpoint, to see more gradual rainfall to ease the drought,” he said. “We are looking at a dry spell until at least sometime next week.”

He said the earliest Denton County could see another chance of rain would be Monday.

“It’s a very isolated, 20 percent chance,” Bain said. “If we do see the rain, there could be potentially cooler weather in the mid-80s through Thursday of next week.”

MEGAN GRAY-HATFIELD can be reached at 940-566-6885 and via Twitter at @MGrayNews.