By Mason W. Canales
Killeen Daily Herald
Many area parks and park roads remained closed Monday by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers due to flooding. Only three parks are open to the public, and more rain is in the forecast this week.
"We have three park areas still open," said Dan Thomasson, lake manager for Lake Belton and Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir.
At Lake Belton, part of Cedar Ridge Park is closed, and Live Oak Ridge and Belton Lake View are the only parks remaining open after heavy rains in June, Thomasson said.
No parks remain open at Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir.
The lakes' current elevation is 621.8 feet for Belton, which is almost 28 feet above normal conservation pool level, and 656.4 feet for Stillhouse Hollow, which is up 34.4 feet.
"The last time they were up this high was in 1992, when we actually went through the uncontrolled spillways," Thomasson said.
Both lakes are about 10 feet away from rising to the level of uncontrolled spillways, Thomasson said.
"Once it reaches the uncontrolled spillway, we lose the capacity to hold any more water at that point," he said. "When we reach the spillways, we are no longer a lake; we are a wide spot in the river."
Thomasson was unsure if either lake would reach those levels. But the National Weather Service predicts more rain and thunderstorms for the rest of the week.
"Depending on what happens in the next couple of days, we can actually reach the uncontrolled spillway," Thomasson said.
Today's forecast predicts an 80 percent chance of rain, according to National Weather Service. There is a 70 percent chance on Wednesday, 50 percent on Thursday and 40 percent on Friday.
The current flood watch has been continued through Wednesday afternoon, said Jason Dunn, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service.
"Right now, we are looking at two to four inches in the next couple of days; it is not out of the possibility to get upwards of five inches," Dunn said.
Belton Lake and Stillhouse Hollow are releasing about 2,600 cubic feet of water per second into the Little River channel, Thomasson said.
Georgetown Lake and Granger Lake are also releasing water into the same channel, Thomasson said.
Because four lakes feed into the same river channel, it restricts the amount of overflow water that Belton and Still House Hollow lakes can release.
"We are going to drop back to the normal level as quickly as possible," Thomasson said. "Our goal is to get the lake levels back down, so we can get ready for the next rain event."
If the spillways are reached, the floodwaters will flow uncontrolled into the rivers down stream.
President George W. Bush approved six of the disaster declarations made last week by Gov. Rick Perry, including the counties of Cooke, Coryell, Denton, Grayson, Lampasas, and Tarrant.
Perry also declared disasters in another 37 counties, including, Bell, Williamson, McLennan, Burnet and Travis.
Contact Mason W. Canales at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (254) 501-7554