The rains that poured down in Texas during the month of Oct. 2018 were historic. Not everyone understands that many of the lakes in Texas are controlled with damns and deemed "Lakes". Some Lakes have committments that keep the water level the same all the time while others lake level is designed to fluctuate allowing the other lakes which run through towns and cities to remain stable.
When the rains started to fall and fill Lake Llano (upwards of Lake Travis), the damn gates were opened and the overflow was allowed into Lake Travis. Lake travis is proceeded by Lake Austin which has a stable lake level for the purposes of restricting the flooding outside of the city of Austin, our Texas Capital. Between the rain falling on Lake Travis, the water flowing from Lake Llano, and no where for it go because of the City of Austin, the level of Lake Travis began to rise very quickly.
Within days the lake was full and by Oct. 16th the flooding had proceeded all over texas. U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) reported, as of early 16 October, 38 USGS streamgages were above flood levels, as water continued to rise at 172 gauges throughout Texas.
The Llano river at Llano rose around 35 feet (10.67 m) in just 24 hours, reaching 39.91 feet early on 16 October. This is the highest level since the floods of 1935 when the Llano reached 41.5 feet (12.64m). Major flood stage is 26 feet (7.92 m).
NWS Austin / San Antonio said the flooding of the Llano River at Llano is the result of 8-10 inches of rain in the 48 hours over the river basin. Valley Spring in Llano County recorded 13.24 inches in 48 hours to 16 October.
The Colorado River at Lake Travis reached 694.4 feet (211.65 m) on 17 October, just below major flood stage of 695 feet, prompting a Flash Flood Warning for the Lake Travis area.
The rain starts.... Lake level at 658ft.
Lake level rises past park gate showing no signs of stopping... Paviliion is filled to the roof.
The lake rose 46 ft from 658 to just over 704 flooding mutiple homes and covering the lower part of lakeshore dr. That's 14 inches during 7 days. Flood nabs #5 on top 10 Lake Travis floods since '57.
Water has begun receeding but still covers the intersection of lakeshore and skyline.
The lake is at 699.5 and slowly dropping. As the water recedes the huge amount of debris that floated in it is left lying on the ground. County crew hopes out there before the weekend to clear off road.
Lake Travis updates the community, LCRA has closed 2 of the 4 flood gates and the lake level is decreasing about 1 foot/day. The current lake level this morning is 684.27 which is still 1ft + over the slab at the sun shade in the park, hopefully by the mid to end of this week the lake will be back down to "full" at 681. The cleanup effort of the tremendous mess that washed ashore has started and will take weeks to clean up since the ground is still wet and heavy equipment can not be used until things dry up some. Neighborhood volunteers have started cleanup efforts where they can and getting piles stacked up for the county to pick up.
In the end, the rain of course subsided and the water level retreated leaving the neighborhood with a mess. The residents of Lakewood Estates pulled together to clear roads, cut trees, remove debris, and restore the park to its former glory. Within weeks we were enjoying the lake again.
Top 10 Lake Travis floods
- Dec. 25, 1991 ñ 710.44 ft.
- May 18, 1957 ñ 707.38 ft.
- June 25, 1997 ñ 705.11 ft.
- Feb. 9, 1992 ñ 704.68 ft.
- Oct. 19, 2018 ñ 704.22 (as of 2:30 p.m. Oct. 19)
- July 6, 2007 ñ 701.51 ft.
- Nov. 25, 2004 ñ 696.70 ft.
- July 7, 2002 ñ 693.50 ft.
- June 14, 1987 ñ 693.48 ft.
- June 16, 2016 ñ 692.69 ft.