Drought declared dead

All three reservoirs on the upper Savannah River continue to rise, and the Army Corps of Engineers has announced the end of drought operations. On Tuesday, the water level at J-Strom Thurmond Dam and Clarks Hill rose above 328 feet above mean sea level for the first time since March 2011. Thurmond Lake’s last extended time above 328 ft-msl was in 2010. The full pool levels are 660-ft-msl at Lake Hartwell, 475 ft-msl at Russell Lake, and 330 ft-msl at Thurmond. Col. Jeffrey Hall, Savannah District commander, said, “Nature came through even better than we predicted earlier this year.” Under normal operations, all mandated purposes can be met — flood risk reduction, hydropower production, downstream navigation, recreation, water supply, water quality, and fish and wildlife management.