Keystone Lake Continues To Rise, Residents Prepare For Worst
MANNFORD, Oklahoma - After all the recent rain, Lake Keystone is 26 feet above and still rising.
Now, people in Mannford are bracing for possible record-setting lake levels as walls of water from upstream pour into Keystone.
Some are preparing for the worst especially at the high school where, if things continue, Keystone Lake could make it to the gym.
Wednesday, the skies were blue, the sun was finally out and the water level at Keystone Lake was still climbing.
Mannford Superintendent, Dr. Steve Waldyogel said, “It could be record-setting, so we're just preparing for that."
Sandbags are stacked up against the gymnasium doors at Mannford High School, one of the lowest-lying buildings on campus.
“That's where the water is potentially going to come up to,” Waldyogel said.
He said it would only take the water coming up five feet for it to go inside the gym, but the district is planning for as much as a ten-foot jump, just in case.
“If we go above that then we're gonna have significant damage, of course we have insurance but we're just trying to avoid that at all costs,” Waldyogel said.
A number of boat ramps, campgrounds and roads are already closed; one is now a swimming pool for snakes.
The Corps of Engineers projects the lake will rise at least five feet by Thursday, putting it at 754 feet above sea level; that's just two feet below Keystone's all-time record, which was set more than 25 years ago.
“The number one concern for everybody is the flooding, or possible flooding, of homes and structures. We don't see that happening at this point and time,” said Mannford Police Chief, Lucky Miller.
To flood Basin Road, which is the only way in and out for those who live on a lake peninsula, the level would have to be at 758 according to the Corps; though the agency said it doesn't expect it to get that high.
Over at the city park, fish were seen swimming not far from the splash pad, and some of Mannford's newest high school seniors tested out some of the calmer flood waters to start their summer break.
The city said if the water does start rising to the point where Basin Road floods it will use a reverse dialing system to let folks know, but neither the city nor the Corps expects that to happen.
For the time being, because of all the water already downstream, the Corps is only releasing about 9,000 cubic feet of water from Keystone Dam.