For the first time in almost exactly five years, the level of Skiatook Lake is normal.
The lake's normal level is 714 feet above sea level. At 3 p.m. on Friday, July 10, 2015, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers listed the level as 714.22 feet.
The last time the lake was at its normal level was on August 3, 2010. In fact, in mid-June of 2010 the lake was almost three feet above normal. That changed as a drought settled into the area and the level began dropping, falling to as much as 17.69 feet below normal as recently as March 8, 2015.
Compared to the watersheds for other lakes in northeast Oklahoma like Keystone and Oologah, Skiatook's is tiny. It doesn't even show up on the map of the watersheds for the lakes in Oklahoma. The watershed for Lake Keystone is the Upper Arkansas, which covers north-central Oklahoma and extends to all of southwest Kansas. The watershed for Oologah is the Verdigris, which is smaller than Keystone's but still stretches far into southeast Kansas.
Because Skiatook's watershed is so small, mostly just Hominy Creek, heavy rain has to fall almost directly on the lake for its level to rise. But that's exactly what's happened this spring and summer.
The heavy rain has left most other lakes in northeast Oklahoma far above normal, but because Skiatook was so low from the drought the unusually wet spring and summer has made it popular for people who usually enjoy water sports elsewhere.