BELTON — There was some good news to go with fast-moving storms that came through Bell County on Monday, knocking out power to 3,000 residents in Killeen and 129 in Belton. The rain slightly raised the lake levels.

“The last storm we had provided a nice, even rain throughout the watershed,” said Ronnie Bruggman, lakes manager for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Currently both Belton and Stillhouse Hollow lakes are at 9 feet below normal, which is an improvement.

The corps’ daily lake elevation reports show that both Stillhouse Hollow Lake and Belton Lake have consistently been between 10 and 11 feet below their normal depth since Jan. 1.

The normal elevation levels, which are about 594 feet for Belton Lake and 622 feet for Stillhouse Hollow, are referred to as “conservation levels” and were set to ensure that the lakes are able to supply enough water to meet all of Central Texas’ various demands. Belton Lake is currently at about 585 feet and Stillhouse Hollow is at about 613 feet. Data from the National Weather Service show that some parts of Central Texas received as much as 6 inches of rain over the last 30 days.

Despite the recent increase in precipitation, there are still concerns about the long-term consequences. Bruggman, who pointed out that he is neither a climatologist nor a meteorologist, said that the recent rains are “not a drought buster” and that we can expect the drought to “continue through the summer at least.”

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