Word of warning for Oklahomans headed to area lakes

Friday, July 2nd 2004, 10:12 am
By: News On 6

Lots of Oklahomans will be headed to lakes this holiday weekend. But water levels on those lakes will be higher than they were earlier this week.

News on 6 reporter Steve Berg says the rain has stopped, but all that water is gradually making its way into the area lakes. So they'll be a little above normal this weekend.

As the sun emerged from the clouds late Friday, some eager beavers were already hitting the water on Lake Skiatook. But in your haste to get to the lake, the Oklahoma Lake Patrol says don't forget to watch out for any debris that may have been washed into the lake from the rains or debris that was visible, but is now submerged by higher lake levels. It's sort of the iceberg rule, there's a lot more you don't see.

OHP trooper Mark Cranford: "If you do wind up in an area where there is some debris floating, you need to get out of that area. If there's debris visible on the surface, then the bigger debris is just underneath the surface."

Pretty much all the area lakes are above normal, ranging from Oologah which is couple of inches to Keystone which is a couple of feet. The only reports of significant debris is on Kaw Lake, but officials still say to play it extra safe and if the lake is higher than what you're used to, give yourself about double the margin for error. "Y'know when you're running the shoreline and you're 50 meters from shore. When the lake levels come up, you need to respect that even more, 100, 150 meters from shore."

There have been times that lakes have been 20 feet above normal. So two feet is not a big deal, but it could still hide debris here and there.