June was wonderfully wet at Lake Altus-Lugert.
More than eight inches of rain was recorded at the dam. Mesonet has a similar amount falling at Mangum.
In contrast Mesonet indicates that Hobart received a little more than five inches or rain and Altus a little more than three inches.
All that rain falling in and around the lake has kept it nearly full for the entire month of June.
Now that July is well underway, the lake level is headed down due to hotter temperatures and less rain.
As of this week, the lake was still 93 percent full, but the level had dropped by 18 inches.
Not a great difference, except at the south end of the lake with huge granite boulders. These boulders emerge and submerge as the lake level lowers or rises.
It’s necessary to be aware that even in a week, the level may have gone down 18-24 inches. Skiing or fishing in one area with plenty of clearance one week may not be safe the next.
That becomes even more important when jumping or diving off of Horsehead. Please do not dive or jump from the rocks. Grave injury, including paralysis or death are possible.
One good aspect of a lake that is not 100 percent full is that the swim beaches are coming back.
That loss of 18 vertical inches may create three to 20 horizontal feet of sandy beach. More sandy beach, means fewer people have to sit on the sharp jumbled rocks of the rip-rap.
The designated swim beaches actually have beach, so more people are using them.
Designated swim beaches have “no boat” buoy markings. Boats and Jet Skis are not allowed within the buoys. Dogs, alcohol and glass bottles are also prohibited from designated swim beaches.
Quartz Mountain Nature Park attracts lots of visitors. Having two designated swim beaches, does not limit the nearly 49 miles of beach were boats and dogs are allowed. Glass bottles are hazardous whether on a swim beach, in a campground, along the non-swim beach or on a mountain trail. Please leave glass bottles at home.