Lake Lanier is nearing 56-year record high water levels, causing headaches for area residents and potential safety risks to boaters.
Metro Atlanta has seen heavy rain for the past week, helping the lake level rise to within a foot of its all-time record. The record high is 1,077.2 feet, reached in April 1964. The water level was 1,076.29 feet Sunday morning, according to LakesOnline, a website that tracks lake data.
The lake has flirted with a record level before, reaching 1,076.1 feet in February 2019.
Docks and walkways on the lakeshores are under water, and some have drifted away into the water, said John Barker, president of the Lake Lanier Association.
“It’s very difficult to get it back in place when the water is this high,” Barker said. “You’ve got to keep an eye on your dock and make sure it’s secured. It’s easy for (docks) to break a cable or float away when it’s this extreme. I’m sure the dock moving companies are out there working overtime.”
Lakefront residents should be sure to cut off electricity to their docks and try to secure boats and docks, Barker said. Because it’s the lake’s off-season, the risk to the public is less than it would be during summertime; fewer people are boating, fishing and swimming in dreary mid-February. But floating debris including logs, fallen trees and those runaway docks could pose hazards to those still on the lake.
The lake has been at or above full pool — 1,071 feet — for about two years now, so residents have gotten used to dealing with high waters, Barker said. Rain is expected to resume next week, starting Monday and going through Thursday, according to Channel 2 Action News Meteorologist Brad Nitz. While the lake level would likely rise more, Barker says concerns could shift to nearby creeks and streams that feed into the lake.
“You will have to be careful around them, particularly on the roads,” Barker said. “The lake itself will self correct and come back to normalcy eventually.”
Meanwhile, Lake Allatoona is at 848.74 feet, which is a little more than 8 feet above full pool, LakesOnline states.
According to a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Facebook post from Feb. 13, Allatoona’s water level is expected to peak at 851.7 feet on Feb. 24. About 14 inches of rain has been dumped on the lake northwest of Atlanta since Feb. 8, and the agency has closed several boat ramps due to the high water levels.
“If boating on Allatoona please slow down, watch for floating debris and always wear your life jacket,” the agency said.
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