Drought creates boating hazards in Texas

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Falling water levels in Lake Travis and Lake Buchanan in central Texas are creating more water hazards, prompting authorities to close another public launch ramp and caution boaters about emerging hazards.

Lake Travis is 24 feet below its normal depth in June, so boaters and swimmers might encounter rocks and large drops they're not used to, said Bob Rose, the Lower Colorado River Authority's chief meteorologist. Lake Travis is 55 percent full, at 647.4 feet; Lake Buchanan, which is 64 percent full, is 10 feet below its average of 1,004.7 feet.

“There's still a lot of water” in Lake Travis, said Don Brent, the river authority’s chief of public safety. “But this place is constantly changing.”

Boats in Lake Travis are running aground more than usual, he said, and accidents are more common at night when shallow areas are practically invisible. Most damage is minor and is done to the hull, propeller or motor.

Brent urged boaters to wear personal flotation devices and take note of mile markers on the lake so they can provide a location if they get into an accident.

Click here for the full report and click here for a slideshow of dramatic photos of the lakes taken from the air by the local water/energy utility company.

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