What does 'MSL' mean in terms of levels of bodies of water?

The Sundancer Grill sits at 690 feet. Lake Travis was at 697.5 feet as of Wednesday morning, and is expected to continue rising.

The Sundancer Grill sits at 690 feet. Lake Travis was at 697.5 feet as of Wednesday morning, and is expected to continue rising.

October was a record-breaking month for the Lake Travis-Westlake area as relentless rains brought the water levels throughout the Highland Lakes chain up to dangerous levels, prompting diligent monitoring and floodgate operation from the Lower Colorado River Authority.

One of the terms we referred back to over and over during our breaking coverage of the rising waters and its impact on our community is MSL, or mean sea level.

For example, Lake Travis is at 100 percent capacity when it reaches 681 feet MSL. On its website LCRA defines MSL as the elevation of the ocean halfway between high and low tide, and states that elevations are measured in feet above mean sea level as a point of reference.

As future weather patterns moving through Central Texas have the potential to impact water levels throughout the Highland Lakes chain, LCRA’s Flood Operations Report is a great resource for real-time data updates regarding water levels. The site also includes a glossary of terms. For more information visit www.floodstatus.lcra.org.
By Brian Rash
Brian has been a reporter and editor since 2012. He wrote about the music scene in Dallas-Fort Worth before becoming managing editor for the Graham Leader in Graham, Texas, in 2013. He relocated to Austin, Texas, in 2015 to work for Gatehouse Media's large design hub. He became the editor for the Lake Travis-Westlake publication of Community Impact in August 2018.


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