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September 24, 2007
February 13, 2019

Lake Lanier Hits 40-Year High Water Mark

Lake Lanier in northern Georgia is a massive reservoir fed by the Chattahoochee and Chestatee rivers. It covers about 59 square miles, providing recreational opportunities for visitors the world over and water for residents of Georgia, Florida, and Alabama.

The lake's waters recently rose to its highest levels since the 1970s after heavy rainfall. Natural color Landsat imagery puts the recent expansion into perspective.

The first image shows the lake in September of 2007, a few months before it reached a record low of 1,050.79 feet. The blue-green waters are met by light tan shorelines, with rows of boat docks visible in white in multiple locations, fanning out around fingerlike protrusions of lakefront land.

The second image was captured on Feb. 13, 2019, the day lake levels reached 1,071 feet. While lower than the 2019 high of 1,076 feet that Lake Lanier reached on Feb. 24, the additional 21 feet is apparent in the image. The water appears in darker shades of blue, and the clear tan edges of shoreline are overtaken by the swollen surface. News reports from Georgia said high waters were "lapping at the yards of homes" in some spots due to the 40-year high.

Landsat satellites, which scan the entire Earth's surface every eight days, represent powerful tools for the monitoring of ebbs and flows in reservoirs such as Lake Lanier.

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