lake flooding

The inside of this Lake Jacksonville home received several feet of flooding as a result of heavy rains Thursday. Progress photo by Heather Metzig

By Raymond Billy

In the wake of the heavy rainfall that showered East Texas Thursday, many homes on Lake Jacksonville experienced a significant amount of flooding.

The lake rose 2 feet above flood level either late Thursday or early Friday, according to Phil Jowell, president of the Lake Jacksonville Association.

“I was out of town Thursday afternoon and got back at 7 p.m. that night. At that time, our boat house was about 2 inches from flooding and when we got up Friday morning it was completely flooded,” Jowell said.

Jowell said matters were made worse by some boaters and Jet skiers whose activities pushed waves into peoples’ homes. In response to the situation, Lake Jacksonville has been closed to water recreation until the water recedes and weather is no longer a threat.

Lake Patrol Officer Greg Compton said that he stopped at least 7 boats Thursday, but only a few since then.

It was believed that the lake could rise another 2 feet. But Jacksonville was able to enjoy 24 rainless hours between Friday and Saturday afternoons, allowing the flood water to drain. As of Saturday afternoon, the lake had subsided by about 1.5 feet, according to Compton.

If weather remains relatively calm, the lake could reopen this evening or tomorrow, Compton said.

The homes that took the brunt of the flooding were on the city side of the lake near Byrd Road and the concession area. Most of those homes were built before an ordinance was passed requiring homes to be built several feet higher. Newer homes received little, if any, damage.

Dozens of homes have been damaged, Jowell estimates.

As flooding recedes and people get back into their normal activities on the lake, Compton cautioned citizens to be aware of floating debris which could be dangerous.

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