Posted: Thu, 2 Jun 2016 11:00 AM - 5,420 Readers
By: Lindsay Liepman
An LCRA team is watching the Colorado River and stands ready at the River Operations Center in Austin if the situation changes.
Central Texans live in what's known as flash flood alley. LCRA manages what you could call a road map of six dams serving as traffic lights to flood water in our region. There were three floodgates still open at the Tom Miller Dam on Wednesday night and LCRA is monitoring every move the water makes.
"This is such a dynamic environment that things can change very quickly," said LCRA Exec. VP of Water John Hofmann.
The water is a thing of beauty, but the lake and dam system was also built for our own protection.
"Before Lake Travis and the Highland Lakes were built, this river, every ten to fifteen years would have a major flood event that caused massive loss of life and property," said Hofmann.
Today, six dams and multiple lakes help LCRA manage flood water before it hits home.
"That flood storage in the upper most portions of Lake Travis is our insurance policy to protect Austin and downstream from extreme flooding driven by rain in the Hill Country," said Hofmann.
"I've lived in Austin since 1983. I love the community because it's where I grew up," said Austin native Ross Henderson.
The sandbags and signs near Ross Henderson's Austin neighborhood are a reminder. The ground is saturated and any rain, even a few inches, will become run-off and could flood area creeks and streams.
"Pretty much anytime it floods, it floods on Lamar from House Park to where the Shoal Creek Saloon is," said Henderson.
A dry and sunny day on Wednesday bought LCRA some time to keep releasing floodwater downstream but it's not time, to let your guard down.
"They need to respect moving water. The whole turn around don't drown, that's words people need to live by," said Hofmann.
The Austin Fire Department extended the watercraft ban on Lady Bird Lake, Lake Austin and the Colorado River until noon on Friday.