Lake Tenkiller Starts Season With Less Than Ideal Conditions

Friday, May 27th 2011, 5:09 pm
By: News On 6

Craig Day, News On 6

LAKE TENKILLER, Oklahoma -- More storms are the last thing many people want, especially those heading out to area lakes for the holiday weekend.

While levels at many area lakes are in good shape for the holiday weekend, Lake Tenkiller is a different story.

05/09/2011 Related Story: Flooding Cleanup Could Hamper Memorial Day Plans At Lake Tenkiller

The lake is 15 feet above normal. It's better than a month ago when near record flooding left a huge mess.

"I've never seen it get as high as it did on Easter," said lake visitor Buddy Flynn.

But, it's still a long way from ideal going into the unofficial start of the Summer season.

"It's going to be real tough on businesses. The restaurants and the marinas and the convenience stores, and everybody is going to be hurting," Flynn said.

Ordinarily, these campsites would be full of people, but this holiday weekend, some are still full of water. The Corps of Engineers has partially reopened five parks that were closed the last time it flooded.

"we're happy we get to open what we do get to open this weekend," said Debi Christie, US Army Corps of Engineers.

But many of the spots along the water won't have electric service.

"Even these campsites here that are out of the water don't have electricity," Flynn said.

While the lake is open, the Corps and the Oklahoma Lake Patrol are urging boaters to be extremely careful if they get out on the water at Tenkiller.

There was a boat accident on the lake overnight when a boater hit debris in the middle of the lake. He's ok, but his boat isn't.

The corps and regular lake goers say even experienced boaters should be cautious on Tenkiller right now.

"There's a lot of floating debris and logs and everything else out there that you can't really see until you hit them," Flynn said.

The good news is, the lake has crested and will fall steadily if we don't get more rain. But it will take a couple of weeks to return to normal... meaning Memorial Day weekend, won't be as memorable as many had hoped.

Fort Gibson is another area lake with high water. It is 17 feet above normal. Skiatook Lake is actually six feet below normal going into the holiday weekend.