May 14, 2014

Rain does little to lift North Texas lakes

More rain is on the way Tuesday night, but forecasters say it won’t do much to help area lakes.

Barring an unexpected deluge late Tuesday or Wednesday, this week’s rainfall won’t do much to help Tarrant County’s water supply.

While some lakes saw improvement — Lake Arlington has risen more than 2 feet since last week — the rain wasn’t enough to make a big difference for most.

Overall, the Tarrant Regional Water District lakes, which provide raw water to 98 percent of the county, were at 70 percent of capacity Tuesday. The recent rains will likely help the lakes see about a 1-percentage-point gain.

“We still need more rain,” said David Marshall, the district’s engineering services director. “At least we’re seeing an uptick.”

Rainfall at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport is still 8.54 inches below normal since Jan. 1, making it the third-driest start to a year on record.

There’s still a 25 percent chance that most of Tarrant County could see once-a-week outdoor watering restrictions — Stage 2 — by August.

The West Fork of the Trinity River, which has been mirroring the drought of record in the 1950s, once again missed out on significant rainfall. Both Eagle Mountain Lake and Lake Bridgeport dropped slightly.

Not only did the West Fork miss out, but so did the upper portions of the Brazos River, where Possum Kingdom Lake is located, National Weather Service meteorologist Matt Bishop said.

“The lakes over the western part of North Texas were helped the least,” Bishop said. “Across the area, there was some help but the lakes are still too low.”

More showers are forming southwest of Fort Worth, but forecasters say they will likely bring only a quarter-inch of rain late Tuesday and early Wednesday.

The next chance for rain won’t arrive until early next week. The good news is it could bring more widespread rainfall.

“It’s possible it will help, but it’s a little too early to say for sure,” Bishop said.

At the peak of the storms Monday, 22,531 electricity customers in Tarrant County were without power, according to Oncor Electric Delivery. The number was 19,638 in Dallas County.

By Tuesday evening, all the outages had been repaired, an Oncor spokeswoman said.

Also Tuesday, two Fort Worth firefighters were recovering from injuries received when they fell while working a fire inside a house hit by lightning in the 12800 block of Campolina Way in far north Fort Worth.

Deglen Isbell and Gino Agnello were in the attic of the two-story home when they crashed about 20 feet through ceilings to the first floor, according to earlier reports.

Engineer Tim Hardeman, a Fire Department spokesman, said Agnello remained hospitalized Tuesday after surgery to repair a broken arm. Isbell was also hospitalized but was expected to go home Tuesday evening, Hardeman said.

Staff writer Bill Miller contributed to this report.

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