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Popular 'inland ocean' is approaching record water level heights
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Popular 'inland ocean' is approaching record water level heights
Lake Lanier is known as Georgia's inland ocean and that ocean is rising this winter. Heavy rain has swelled the reservoir to its highest levels in over 55 years.On Monday afternoon, the lake was within 1 foot of its all-time record, set in April 1964. To avoid potential damage or injuries, authorities have asked residents to cut electricity to docks and tie them down.CLICK HERE FOR THE FREE ACCUWEATHER APPIn a Facebook comment from Feb. 13, the Lake Lanier Association wrote that they expect to surpass that 1964 record of 1077.15 feet. As of Feb. 17, the lake was at 1076.15 feet, with more rain in the forecast.AccuWeather Meteorologist Danielle Knittle said the area has received more precipitation in the first two weeks of February than the region normally receives on average for the whole month."Through the first 17 days of the month, they've seen 7.37 inches of total precipitation, including those 4 inches of snow back on the Feb. 8," Knittle said. "The normal monthly total for February is 5.28 inches. Going back to the start of the year, their normal precipitation through Feb. 17 is 8.24 inches, but this year has seen nearly 15 inches recorded."All that excess rain and snowmelt has swelled the massive lake for the second year in a row.Less than a year ago, similarly dangerous water levels also prompted officials to urge residents to cut power to docks. According to WSBTV.com, most of the 10,000 docks on the lake last year had electric power running to them in order to run boat lifts or charge batteries.When the water rises, those submerged electric connections can become life-threatening."A lot of times, we're seeing the power is still on. The power pole is underwater and the lights are on, on the dock," Scott Kanady of the Lanier Dock Watch said last year to WSBTV. "When the water floods up to the power poles, it's putting a good bit of current in the water."The public risk is currently lower as it's the off-season, with fewer people out on the lake swimming, boating or fishing. However, floating logs and swept-away docks still pose a threat. Handrails in a regularly traveled area around Lake Lanier are now nearly completed submerged in the high waters. (AccuWeather/ Jonathan Petramala) According to AccuWeather National Reporter Jonathan Petramala, the Army Corps of Engineers is keeping an eye on water releases from nearby Buford Dam. The Corps could release more water from the lake, but that could come at the risk of downstream flooding.However, that may prove necessary if the area receives the heavy rain that is expected. By midday Tuesday, Knittle said another quarter of inch of rain had already fallen and more is expected through the end of the week. Many of the 10,000 docks in Lake Lanier are connected to electric power but authorities are now urging owners to disconnect the power after water levels have risen. (AccuWeather/ Jonathan Petramala) "Another area of low pressure will move through the Gulf Coast region and Southeast late Wednesday into Thursday," Knittle said. "This will bring another round of rain to the entire state on Thursday. Once we get past Thursday, high pressure will keep conditions dry through the start of the weekend, with the next chance of rain being Sunday night into Monday. Most of the state can expect to see another 1 to 2 inches of rain through Thursday evening."Keep checking back on AccuWeather.com and stay tuned to the AccuWeather Network on DirecTV, Frontier and Verizon Fios.
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