Oklahoma Lake Levels Increase

Monday, May 4th 2009, 5:27 pm
By: News On 6

By Chris Wright, The News On 6

VINITA, OK -- All the recent rain means lake levels are rising.  Officials say they are paying close attention to the situation.  The question is:  how much more rain can we handle?

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says despite all the rain, the lakes are in pretty good shape for now, but we could use a few days of sunshine.

The water is literally lapping at the parking lot at Willow Park Marina.  The wildlife doesn't seem to mind the recent deluge, and while eager for better weather, boaters are exercising patience.

"This seems to be a repetitive process each year, but it helps flush the system out," said boater Bill Horry.

Nearby, water is pouring from spillways.  Grand Lake is currently at 749.5 feet, and expected to crest at 750 this week. That's eight feet above normal.  The water is higher at other area lakes.

Oologah Lake is currently 14.2 feet above normal.  Keystone is at 12.3 above normal.  Fort Gibson is 19.6 feet above normal and rising.

If they don't seem too worried at Willow Park, it's because of what they've gone through just the last couple of years. 

"It doesn't really affect our business, it just keeps people at bay and they don't come up as much as they used to," said Willow Park manager Greg Crenshaw. "It's frustrating to our customers because they don't like to walk through the dirty water to get to their boats."

High water has also forced the temporary closure of some state parks.

Spavinaw State Park, Snowdale State Park on Lake Hudson and Cherokee Riverside on Grand are shut down until the water recedes.