A river’s water levels in drought-stricken central Texas increased dramatically overnight on Wednesday after heavy rains doused the region.
Texas has suffered from severe drought throughout the summer with the water levels in many lakes, reservoirs, and rivers dropping as a result. As of Thursday, the entirety of Llano County in central Texas was suffering from severe drought, with nearly 45 percent of the county battling exceptional drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor Map. “Exceptional” is the worst classification of drought by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).
Llano River levels have remained low throughout the summer but jumped by 10 feet overnight after heavy rains pummeled the region. Parts of Llano County received at least 7.5 inches of rain through 7 a.m. local time on Thursday, according to the National Weather Service (NWS) office in San Antonio and Austin. The rainfall supplemented the Llano River, which entered a moderate flood stage.
AccuWeather senior meteorologist Tom Kines told Newsweek that some showers may continue throughout the day, but the heaviest rain has moved to the east.
“The Llano River at Llano has now passed through a stage of 12 feet, which puts it in moderate flood stage,” the NWS posted on X, formerly Twitter, Thursday morning.
“The river is expected to remain in flood stage through early evening today. Continue to stay aware for possible rising water along this portion of the Llano River today.”
Videos of the rushing river were shared on social media.
“Heavy rains overnight created localized flash flooding and saw the Llano River at Llano, Texas cresting a short while ago at 32,000 [cubic feet per second] and 12.7 ft,” social media user Will Leverett posted on X. “Storms have now passed here in Llano but a Flood Warning remains in effect.”
The USGS gage for Llano River at Llano jumped by 10 feet overnight on Wednesday. KVUE meteorologist Shane Hinton said the river was expected to peak at 14.6 feet before lowering throughout Thursday evening.
“This is the highest peak since June 2016,” Hinton posted on X Thursday morning.
Hinton touted the rainfall as “incredible” in a follow-up post on Thursday morning.
The rushing water was headed toward Lake Travis, according to a post by TravisCountySevereWx, which was cause for celebration for Austin-area residents. Lake Travis has also suffered from low water levels because of the drought, exposing hidden pecan groves and a concrete dock previously buried under the reservoir. Several boat launch ramps closed at the lake this summer due to the low water levels.
“Best news I’ve seen in quite a while,” one user responded to the post.
The most recent U.S. Drought Monitor Map was shared Thursday and shows drought impacts through Tuesday. An updated map is shared weekly on Thursdays. Kines told Newsweek that the rain will aid Llano County’s drought issue.
“They need more than this, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction,” Kines said, adding that the weather pattern is “transitioning into something that could lead to normal or above normal rainfall for that area over the next couple of months.”