Recent rains have raised area pond, lake and river levels and have replaced soil moisture lost during the past two years of drought, observers say.
Jack Lindquist, Douglas County agriculture extension agent, said this morning that the area lakes he has seen appear to be up considerably from the past two years. Lindquist credited the level increases to the manner in which recent rains fell.
Long, slow rains allowed water-starved soil to soak the rain into the ground. The excess rain that the soil could not retain ran off into area ponds, raising their levels, he said.
Lindquist said he expects long dry spells during the summer, which he said underscores the importance of going into the summer months with adequate pond water supplies.
"This was prescription rain," he said.
Area subsoil moisture levels have been drastically below normal because of two years of drought, Lindquist said. The Lawrence area was left 13 inches short of rainfall and ended 1989 four inches shy of normal moisture.
Recent storms brought nearly 2.5 inches of rain to the area, according to records at the Kansas University Weather Service.
Frank Hempen, Douglas County public works director, said this morning that Lone Star Lake was filled to capacity and that excess water was running through the lake's emergency spillway at the west end of the dam.
Records at Clinton and Perry lakes also show higher water levels than normal.