Lakes get lower

Gary Rose took this picture September 11, 2011, looking towards the lake from his boat dock

I’ve had a number of viewers asking me about the lakes given the drought situation and that is a legitimate concern. On the face of it, our regional lakes are not looking too bad, about 5% below capacity.

Running 5% below capacity

But the Hill Country lakes are not faring nearly as well. First, look at the current picture of Lake Buchanan just yesterday. This lake is about 60 miles northwest of Austin and what you see below is a pier that used to have water under it!

courtesy Stephen Regian

The Hill Country lakes are falling quickly, not just Lake Buchanan.

As low as 50% below normal

Lake Austin isn’t looking so low, but Lake Travis is nearly half the normal amount and Lake Buchanan is dropping by the day. I’ve had a number of pictures from the 2011 drought. The cover picture of Lake Conroe was in September 2011 as was this picture of Lake Houston:

coourtesy Steven Jones

Here is Lake Livingston at the same time:

courtesy Vickie Gunter Brewster

And keep in mind that some of the lake’s lowest levels don’t occur during summer. The effects of the drought can show up in the fall and even winter, as they did in 2011:

Clearly, the drought effects can take hold later than just summer

While I’ve done a lot of comparison to 2011, I did get this two-year example of our current drought. A pond in Liberty in 2020 and now:

courtesy Ashley Windemiller

You can see the pier on the right side in 2020 and to the left in 2022. Not a lick of water today.

So we don’t have to go back very far to see these dramatic changes. Get ready, they may have just started.


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About the Authors:

KPRC 2's chief meteorologist with three decades of experience forecasting Houston's weather.

Amanda Cochran is an Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist. She specializes in Texas features, consumer and business news and local crime coverage.