Plentiful sunshine and a full lake have made for easy iving for Thurmond Lake business owners and visitors.
“Everybody’s been grateful the water’s been up and the weather’s been good,” said Barton Hall, owner of Ridge Road Bait and Tackle.
At Hall’s convenience store, memories have nearly faded of persistent droughts and low lake levels that made for difficult boating, fishing and swimming conditions. This summer, lake-goers have few complaints.
“The fish are biting,” said Bob Pitt, of Evans. “It’s a weather thing.”
Thurmond Lake has been near its normal summer pool of 330 feet above sea level for most of the summer season.
Because of ongoing work on the dam’s floodgates, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is keeping the reservoir about a half-foot below normal.
On Wednesday, the lake was at 328 feet above sea level. The water elevation is projected to fall in the next three months to 326 feet at the beginning of October.
Through Wednesday, the Thurmond water basin received 2.76 inches of rain in July, of which about 1 inch fell in a single weather event on July 19. The month normally measures more than 4 inches. June rainfall measured 3.6 inches, which is normal.
Charlie Barron, the manager of Maryland Fried Chicken at Pollard’s Corner, said business has thrived this summer compared to 2013 when the area had record rainfall. He sees a heavy stream of customers throughout the day grabbing breakfast or lunch before heading to the lake.
“The weekends have been very busy. There’s always activity around the water,” Barron said.
Hayes Marine owner Travis Hayes reports a slow summer, however.
Because of cooler spring temperatures, Hayes said lake traffic didn’t pick up until Memorial Day when boaters normally hit the water after Masters Week.