Lanier reaps benefits of recent rains

LAWRENCEVILLE - Georgia's recent deluge actually brought one bit of good news.

The rains accounted for a 37-billion-gallon gain in water at Lake Lanier.

The lake, which has been plagued by low levels by years of drought, has risen three feet in the past few days, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials said in a press release.

The lake is expected to peak at a level of 1,068.5 feet above mean sea level, nearing the lake's 1,070 feet full level for the first time in years.

"To reduce flooding downstream, only the small unit (of 670 cubic feet per second of water) is being run at Buford (Dam)," said public affairs officer Lisa Coghlan. "By limiting releases to just that of the small unit, 37 billion gallons of flood waters were retained at Lanier. This is the equivalent of filling the Georgia Dome more than 170 times."

The release said the water flow out of large dams is rarely halted completely to avoid negative impacts on river environments.

"The Corps continues to monitor the situation and will make necessary changes to water releases to ensure minimal impacts both upstream and downstream," the release said.