Record High Temps, Drought Drying Out Oklahoma Lakes

Monday, December 3rd 2012, 5:20 pm

By: News On 6

Oklahoma is experiencing record high temperatures and no rain. The low temperature Sunday night was 10 degrees higher than normal, and we're 10 inches behind on our yearly rainfall.

One place we're seeing the affects of the unusual weather is in our lakes. Lake Eucha in Delaware County is owned by the city of Tulsa. Its docks and boat ramps are unusable now, all thanks to this massive drought.

Lake Eucha is 8 1/2 miles long, and its surface covers more than 2,300 acres. But since Oklahoma has been hit by a drought, that surface area is slowly shrinking, making it very difficult for boaters and those who love to fish. 

"Yeah, it makes it very hard," said Jerry Youngblood. Youngblood works for the City of Tulsa as the area manager at Lake Eucha for 36 years.

He says the water is so low the only boat ramp you can use is a gravel ramp near Highway 10.

"Next one probably, by land, 10 miles on down the lake if you have to get there - access is pretty hard," he said.

Youngblood says the water is down nearly 14 feet. He says the signs of low water can be seen everywhere.

In one example, the city owns a cove and rents boathouses out to the public. They had to close it early this year, in August, because the water is all gone.

11/29/2012 Related Story: Drought to Persist into Winter

Is this just another sign of the drought?

"It is. Yeah," said Lakes Area Manager Jerry Youngblood. "And the great thing about this one is if we get rain in the right spot, we can fill up overnight. It's just such a concise, small watershed it can fill up just like that."

Lake Eucha is one source of water for the City of Tulsa; it's connected to Lake Spavinaw and the two work together.

City officials say there's no reason for concern now because of the low water, saying the average city usage is 121-million gallons a day which is less then half the capacity.

"They can drop this thing another 20-something feet and still have water," Youngblood said.

Youngblood says the biggest concern is the dried-out look and the inconvenience for boaters. He says the worst he has ever seen it at Lake Eucha was in 1981 when the lake was down more than 24 feet.


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