Floodwaters to prompt gate operations at Max Starcke and Wirtz dams

Lew K. Cohn/The Highlander
Several flood gates of Max Starcke Dam (pictured above in April 2016) are slated to be opened — along with gates at Wirtz Dam — to pass floodwaters rushing in from Junction into the Llano River through to Lake LBJ and Lake Marble Falls. While Lake Marble Falls is expected to be kept at a constant level, the pass through is expected to create fast-moving currents and residents are advised to use caution.

 

 

 

 

 

From staff reports •

The Lower Colorado River Authority was expected to open flood gates at Wirtz and Starcke Dams Tuesday, Oct. 9, and Wednesday, Oct. 10, due to a large inflow of water from flooding along the Llano River which will pass through Lake Marble Falls.

City of Marble Falls issued an alert Monday afternoon to remind residents that while Lake Marble Falls' level is expected to remian within its normal operating range as a constant-level lake, fast moving currents could carry away unsecured boats and other aquatic items. Residents were being asked to monitor weather conditions for the next several days as conditions could change.

Meanwhile, the National Weather Service in Austin issued a flood warning for the Llano River in Llano for Monday evening through Thursday, Oct. 11. While the river was only at 1.1 feet as of 11 a.m. Monday, major flooding was forecast and the river was expected to crest at 23.4 feet Tuesday, Oct. 9. Flood stage on the river at Llano is 10 feet.

Primary and secondary roads and low bridges near the Llano River and its tributaries were to be considered dangerous due to rising water. Boats and docks could be severely inundated downstream near and in Kingsland, and Slab Road in Kingsland is expected to be impassable and should be avoided. The river was expected to finally drop below flood stage Thursday afternoon.

Heavy rains in Kimble County has caused the Llano River to flood in Junction and forced first responders to make some daring rescues of people trapped by rising water.

Just after 9 a.m. Monday, the Llano River was at 30.6 feet, or more than 14 feet above the flood stage of 16 feet. It was expected to crest at 32.9 feet Monday afternoon before falling back below flood stage Tuesday. The previous largest flood crest in Junction was reportedly 32.2 feet in September 1980.

According to the National Weather Service, strong to severe thunderstorms were expected in Kimble, Mason and San Saba counties through Tuesday morning, which could include large hail, damaging winds and even tornadic activity.

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