Author: John Kurzman - It is really terrific that it appears that the DEP has taken our requests into consideration, and rather than stop the refill at 30 inches or 26 inches, has allowed the refill to go to 7.13', which is the equivalent of a 22-inch drawdown, the same as a regular annual drawdown. This now positions the lake for a regular refill in the springtime!
Although the DEP kept telling us at Lake Hopatcong Commission meetings that they would not do this, it really is terrific that they did this now and we can breathe a sigh of relief!
Its also great that although there was ice in the beginning of the refill period, they let the lake start refilling. Although it's questionable how thick the ice was everywhere on the lake, there were people ice skating and ice fishing on the lake at the time, so certainly thick in some places, without hearing of damage or complaints, so terrific on that count too.
Also, of course, the weather was significantly on our side. If one checks https://www.weather.gov/marfc/NJPrecipitation30Day (as of mid-January), you will see that rainfall was off the chart, with it being more than double the normal mean precipitation, and greater than 75% above the mean for the last 30 days. (ie. the top 25%).
If one similarly doubles my chart of inflows, (page 2 of https://www.dropbox.com/.../ywt6q.../5ftdrawdownfacts.pdf... ) for half of December and half of January (December 15th thru Jan 13th), which are 28.2 and 21.7 inches for the full months 'averages', which would be 49.9 inches, minus 3.6 inches outflow for the month equals 46.9 inches my model would predict the lake to rise for that amount of rainfall, we should not be too surprised to have now seen the lake rise from 4' to 7.16' (38 inches) and already be dumping excess.
According to my model also, if this was the top 1% of wettest times in that time period (mid-Dec-January), this would be the inflows expected and seen before. I don't have all that data for January yet, but according to the state climatologist, for Sept-November, going back to 1895, New Jersey had the most rainfall ever on record, https://climate.rutgers.edu/.../nj_12month_pcp_dep.JPG
We certainly had the right year for this drawdown! I just hope that we can update the plan to incorporate some of these changes, and of course make some of the other modifications, such as drawing down at a fixed rate of flow rather than slowing down the drawdown near the end due to a fixed rate of inches per day rather than gallons per day, so that we can finish the drawdown sooner, and then start the refill sooner as well.
Again, thanks to the DEP for doing what was best for the lake!
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