Safety Concerns Forced a Popular Lake To Close in Houston

By: Stephanie Bontorin | Published: May 09, 2024

A popular lake in Texas has been closed due to rising water levels from recent floods in the area.

The flooded waters of Lake Houston have been closed as the area is no longer safe for residents to navigate.

Severe Weather Warnings in Texas

The Lone Star State has recently been met with severe weather warnings. One included a barrage of rain that met the state with massive flood warnings.

Dark storm clouds hover over a valley filled with saguaro cacti and dry brush

Source: Robert Murray/Unsplash

The closure of Lake Houston comes at an inopportune time. In the Gulf Coast of Mexico, officials have been dealing with rising water levels threatening hurricanes.

High Levels of Precipitation Throughout the State

After receiving roughly 6 inches of rain in the first week of May, more is expected to fall, causing increased issues with flooding in Houston.

A large lake with muddy waters floods around the shoreline

Source: @Jim_n_Texas/X

The average monthly rainfall for the entire state is only five inches. Officials are concerned that the increased precipitation can cause problems with the state’s infrastructure, like bridges and dams along with the problems they already face with reservoirs. 

Heightened Lake and Reservoir Levels

Lake Houston isn’t the only area to experience the negative effects of rain storms. Lake Belton reached 100 percent capacity after being severely depleted from a drought just last year.

A lake on a stormy day with multiple boats with fishermen

Source: Public Domain/Wikipedia Commons

Many lakes and reservoirs are reaching capacity and officials are concerned that they may have to close more bodies of water to the public.

The Houston Office of Emergency Management Made a Statement

The group on social media platform X stated, “It is not safe to swim, kayak, boat, or do any other water activities on the lake. For your safety, stay out of the lake until it is reopened.”

An aerial view of a large flooded lake surrounded by lush green trees and a long empty bridge

Source: @Thelovetoy/X

Officials know they cannot keep everyone off the lake while it is closed, but they hope to inform residents of the dangers and encourage them to stay away.

Lake Houston Rising Above Pool Level

At the beginning of last week, Lake Houston peaked at 48 feet before some water started draining or evaporating.

A fire engine drives through a flooded street

Source: VillagerNews/X

The full pool level should be 42.40 feet; however, water levels remain stagnant at 44 feet, more than 2 feet above where the lake should sit.


NWS Houston Predicting More Rainfall All Week

In a post on X by the weather authority in Houston, they noted that the rest of the week will bring large amounts of rainfall near Lake Livingston.

Rain falls in the backyard of a brick house with trees and a fence visible

Source: Bryan Dickerson/Unsplash

The event began on April 28th when torrential rainfall crossed the Pineywoods region.


Flooding Events Common in Springtime

Massive amounts of rain are uncommon for dry Texas weather; however, the precipitation has been known to rise in the spring.

A view of a large bay with boats in a tropical setting

Surges of rain can cause flooding events in the Gulf of Mexico. However, the upper-level disturbances in the state are a cause for alarm.


Multiple Storms Hit the Area in Quick Succession

Weather authorities have also noted that the massive amounts of precipitation were caused by increased storms sent in from the western United States.

A large rain cloud emits two branches of lightning over a large city in the distance

Source: Erik Gonzalez/Unsplash

The Houston area does get some mild storms in the springtime, but the recent barrage of rainfall is to blame for flooding in the area.


River Flooding Will Persist

Flooding can be difficult to predict and even harder to control in dry and arid regions.

A flooded road is closed off with a yellow barricade with greenery on either side

Source: Phillip Flores/Unsplash

The ground in desert areas is usually too rough and dry to absorb adequate water in time. Even so, excess moisture in the ground can often cause landslides.


Businesses Affected Around Lake Houston

Due to the lake’s closure, many businesses in the area have had a stark drop in customers.

Muddy lake waters reach the balcony of a house with lush trees in the background

Source: @houstonpolice/X

May is a busy month for many seasonal businesses in the area. They hope that the water levels return to normal soon so that life can return to normal in the area and they can recoup their losses.


Residents Should Avoid the Area

Due to flooding and the risk of landslides, residents have been instructed to avoid the area for the time being.

A boat ramp at a lake with rising muddy waters


Officials will try to quell the high flood levels to reopen Lake Houston in a timely manner.