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Bell County lakes are full, but don't pack your beach towel just yet

Posted at 5:00 PM, May 14, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-14 18:07:45-04

BELL COUNTY, Texas (KXXV) — For the past few years Central Texas has been in constant drought like conditions at local lakes.

That was until recent flooding rainfall swept through the area.

”That has raised Belton to where it is about 11.5 ft. above the current conservation stage and Stillhouse Hollow is about 4 feet above,” said Josh Johns, 25 News Meteorologist.

“So both of them actually running above a full lake”

In April, 25 News showed a the yellow line on a chart that is supposed to mark the safe distance for swimming at Stillhouse Hollow Lake and how the water line was dozens of yards past it.

Dreams of a family day at the lake hit a literal barrier after talking to Park Rangers who said they still can’t open the swim areas because of the rain.

”It kind of shifts our priorities from dealing with the recreation and drought closers to now, we’re focusing on our flood closures,” said Jewel Hale, Lead Park Ranger at Belton Lake.

Even if we don't have any major flooding event in the next few weeks, it will still be a while before swim areas and stuff will actually be open to the public

”It just depends on the inflow,” Hale said.

“Usually, from my experience, within a couple of months or so, lake elevation will be returning to normal.”

After hearing that, we checked in with 25 News Meteorologist Josh Johns for a weather update.

”We may have more rain coming in on the forecast,” Johns said.

"We're still in the middle of May, we’re in the middle of severe weather season, so it’s likely that we’re going to see even more rain before the summer comes in.”

When the recreation areas are open again, it is important to know that debris and drop-offs will not be in the same location as a they were a few years ago.

Check with the Rangers for any updates before heading to the lake, especially if you are bringing children to go swimming.