EL DORADO, Kan. - El Dorado State Park says it expects a packed house for Memorial Day this weekend. People are ready to enjoy the outdoors after months at stay at home orders, but campers need to know that severe weather could impact their plans.
El Dorado State Park Manager Seth Turner says most of the utility sites and about 80% of the primitive sites are booked. Rangers are preparing to keep everyone informed if severe weather happens. Turner says this year there are more first-time campers than in previous years, so he wants everyone to know how to stay safe. He says it comes down to checking the weather forecast often and knowing what time it will enter your area.
The park works with Butler County Emergency Management and rangers will circle campsites with lights and the loudspeaker warning campers about the weather. Rangers hope people take the warnings seriously and take shelter.
"You can't force them to do it," Turner says, "You can give them the information but that's about all you can do and hope that they listen and take precaution."
The same warning go for boats on the water. Just because you're excited to get out on the water for the first time in a while, you shouldn't take any chances that could cause serious damage to your boat or injure your family.
Heavy rains and strong winds could make road travel dangerous as well. Whether you're headed to the lake or another destination, you should know the forecast for your entire route, not just the destination.
The Kansas Department of Transportation says if you're caught in heavy rains, make sure your lights and windshield wipers are on. If you are caught in hail, pull over if you have to. Most importantly, stay in your car. Hail can cause injuries.
If you come across a flooded road, do not try to drive through it. Turn around, don't drown.
Turner says people need to be aware of the weather forecast while they're driving to the lake. Consider changing your plans if the drive is dangerous. Wait a few hours or leave the next day instead.
"Sometimes people think about coming to the lake and they just get so excited about 'we're going to the lake, we're going to the lake' and they kind of stop thinking about normal stuff that they should be thinking about," Turner says, "So everyone just slow down a little bit and focus on what's important and be safe. "
Download the Storm Team 12 Weather App and keep it handy through the weekend. It has interactive radar so you know when weather will cross into your area. The Storm Team 12 App follows your current location, and you can also search the forecast for any other location. It's available or free download in the app store.