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Lake levels at highest point in years

Aerial file photo showing Lake Lanier at Buford Dam.

Aerial file photo showing Lake Lanier at Buford Dam.

BUFORD -- Lake Lanier is at its highest level in years, but the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers could soon increase its water releases, marking the end of a period of water flow reductions at Buford Dam.

In December, the corps stated plans to reduce the water flow, a move that allowed increased water storage amid continuing droughts. The decision, which was earmarked to end on April 30, was made at the request of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

Recent rainfall and a lake that on Tuesday was at 1,072.27 feet above sea level helped lift concerns from the corps, which manages Lake Lanier.

Recent water measurements were the highest since at least February 2010, when it was 1072.34, according to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers records.

According to Meteorologist Jason Deese with the National Weather Service in Peachtree City, a months-long drought warning has been lifted as of April 23.

"All of the local area has been taken out of drought conditions," Deese said. "Recent rains have improved lake and pond levels.

Rains could continue Saturday, he said.

He forecasted isolated storms for the weekend with highs in the mid-60s and lows in the lower 50s.

According to local weather enthusiast Jon Richards, "the rains have been pretty generous locally."

Richards said for the year he had recorded 16.63 inches and 4.26 for the month of April.

"We're certainly doing all right," Richards said. "The effects of a drought do last longer than when it starts raining again, but by and large for the time being I think we're in good shape."