Rainfall totals this week reached more than double the average for July, but the numbers have done little to replenish area lakes.
Killeen-Fort Hood Regional Airport recorded 5.62 inches of rain between 10 a.m. Sunday and 10 a.m. Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service.
The measurements are well above July’s average total of 2.45 inches.
NWS meteorologist Joe Harris said dry soil in the area absorbed most of the water before it had a chance to accumulate into runoff and reach area lakes.
Levels on Stillhouse Hollow and Belton lakes rose only about half a foot after three days of slow soaking, according to the Brazos River Authority.
Trees, bushes and grass will receive the most benefit of the rain — not the lakes, Harris said.
Both lakes are about 80 percent full; Belton Lake is 7.9 feet below normal and Stillhouse Hollow Lake is 7.6 feet below normal.
“With the rainfall totals that we had, I am surprised we didn’t have more runoff,” said Brad Brunett, water services manager for the Brazos River Authority.
At 80 percent full, the drought will not affect water suppliers and only has minimal effect on recreational lake users.
“In terms of water supply, there really aren’t any adverse effects at this level,” Brunett said.
All boat ramps are open at both lakes, said Ronnie Bruggman, lake manager of Belton and Stillhouse Hollow lakes for the Army Corps of Engineers.
Though still almost 8 feet below normal, Belton and Stillhouse Hollow lakes recovered quicker than many Texas lakes since the 2011 drought.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture declared the historic drought a natural disaster after it devastated crops and fresh water sources in Texas.
Lake Travis, located northwest of Austin, is one of the area’s worst-hit lakes. On Thursday, it registered 42.9 feet below normal, according to the Lower Colorado River Authority.
Brunett said the major difference between Lake Travis and Belton Lake is the location of storms over the past two years.
“When you get rain, it doesn’t matter how much it rains; if it is not in the right spot, it is not going to fill the lake up,” Brunett said.
Three-day rainfall totals
Lake Belton 3.42 inches
Stillhouse Hollow Lake 5.25 inches
Killeen-Fort Hood Airport 5.62 inches
Gray Army Airfield 5.04 inches
Source: National Weather Service