Lake Thurmond drought exposing water hazards

Lake Thurmond drought exposing water hazards

LAKE THURMOND (WFXG) - It's one of the last weekends before school starts and we have a warning for those who are hoping to take the boat out, you have to be careful. The water level at Lake Thurmond is down and it's still dropping.

The lack of rain this year is adding up. This week, The Army Corps of Engineers announced Lake Thurmond, Lake Hartwell, and Lake Russell all entered a level 1 drought.

" I ain't ever seen the lake this low," said boater Ernie Miller.

And it's obvious the water level is down, all you have to do is look at the shoreline.

 "Some of the other lakes, one's that are generating power, they can actually recirculate some of water back into their lakes. But Clarks Hill is one of the one's that once is they start generating or releasing, it's not coming back, it's not coming back until we get rain," said Georgia DNR Ranger Bobby Timmerman.

At this time the Corps has reduced how much water is released from Lake Thurmond.

If you're out boating, the Corps recommends you use extra caution as rocks, tree stumps, and sand bars are now exposed.

Something Erne Miller learned first-hand.

 "Looking to see how shallow it was, and we found out. It went from 10ft on our depth gauge to 1ft. Immediately it stopped us. So, we had to get out of the boat, pull the boat out off the mud bar to get going again," Miller said.

The water level in the designated swim area at Big Hart is currently 2 feet deep. But just because it's shallow does not mean you should venture out of the marked area.

The Corps says steep drop-offs are nearby all swim areas and if you see something in the water, don't go after it.

 "It's always a good idea to have a life-jacket on. When you see these different items popping up out of the waterway, don't try to swim to them, because they look a lot closer than they are," Timmerman said.

DNR says if you're boating and see items like a life-jackets or a jug floating in the water they may be marking something just below the surface so use caution when driving past them.

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