Here’s why water levels are low from Sabine Pass to Cameron Parish

Published 12:20 pm Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Those passing by waterways in Southeast Texas may notice lower-than-normal water levels. However, this is a common phenomenon associated with cold fronts and northerly winds.

“The day we had strong winds, levels went down really, really far,” said Andy Tingler, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Lake Charles. “Even through we had a high temperature of 73 degrees, the cold front came through in the early morning hours Sunday and the wind switched from the north.”

The highest recorded wind gust Sunday at Jack Brooks Regional Airport was 43 miles per hour, but wind gusts remained between 35-45 miles per hour all day, Tingler said.

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“It was also breezy Monday and that just shoved all the water out,” he added.

Mic Cowart, port manager of the Sabine Pass Port Authority, said the loss of water was expected, but did drop as much as 4 feet on Monday. But Tuesday, it was closer to 3 feet.

“That’s typically this time of year so we were expected it,” Cowart said, adding it hadn’t caused a problem for larger ships coming into port. “For some of the smaller craft, it becomes very critical for pilots and other mariners to stay in dedicated channels or they can run into trouble.”

Tingler said Cameron Parish, which is not far from Pleasure Island, recorded its lowest water point since recording began decades ago.

“Every time we get a prolonged period of northerly winds it shoves the water levels below normal, but the slow northerly wind gusts coincided with a time when we were going to have a low tide,” he said. “So it was already going to have lower-than-normal water levels. The winds pushed it further.”

While Southeast Texas has been on a warming trend, temperatures are expected to drop down near freezing by Thursday, according to the NWS.

Wednesday’s high of 73 degrees and low of 57 degrees will drop to a Thursday high of 68 degrees and low of 37 degrees; although another warming trend will follow shortly after.