Sam Rayburn Reservoir monitors input surges

Updated: May. 14, 2021 at 5:50 PM CDT
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NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - Friday was a day of sunshine after two to three weeks of heavy rains. There’s more rain in the forecast for next week, which may leave you wondering how Sam Rayburn Reservoir is holding up.

Many swollen creeks and rivers in Deep East Texas make their way down within a day or less to the flood control lake of Sam Rayburn Reservoir. Surges are monitored by engineers to the inch.

“Sam Rayburn’s normal pool is about 165. We’ve been up about 5, 5 1/2 feet from there,” said Reece Nelson, lake manager. “Over the past seven days, we’ve shot up 2 1/2 feet.”

So far, flood gates remain closed, except when opened periodically for power generation. Dam B, south of Sam Rayburn is open to let the Neches River continue its flow downstream. Water control forecasters will provide alerts if necessary.

“Right now we’re predicting maybe jump about a foot, foot and half. And leveling off there. That’s just water we’ve already gotten and water on the ground,” said Nelson. “If there are any more rain events coming up next week, then we will redo our forecast.”

Anglers watch that forecast closely.

“[High water] Just makes things a little tougher,” said Mike Rowland, an angler and nearby resident. “Access points are not as good as they normally are. Like over at Humphrey Pavilion, if you go out on the dock, you’re going to have to wade in water about waist deep to get there.”

Pictured is a submerged dock east of the Sam Rayburn dam near Jasper. (Source: KTRE Staff)
Pictured is a submerged dock east of the Sam Rayburn dam near Jasper. (Source: KTRE Staff)(KTRE Staff)

The corps plans to close Mill Park Campground tomorrow due to flooding. Two others remain closed.

“You’ve got Hank’s Creek right now and San Augustine Campground that are closed,” said Nelson. “We have a few boat ramps up north that we’re starting to close as well. We try to lessen the pain as much as possible, and we try to keep everything open for as long as possible.”

Nelson reminded boaters higher lakes anywhere become a whole new lake. Be mindful of submerged debris and shorelines.

Before taking off for the lake you might want to go online to check campground status. During the week, you can also call the project office at 409-384-5716.

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