Flooding likely to limit holiday-weekend activity at area lakes, parks

Published: May. 22, 2019 at 11:15 PM CDT
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The release of floodwater from Cheney Lake into the Ninnescah River did work to lower the water level, but not enough for boaters over Memorial Day Weekend says Keven O'Brien who owns a marina at the lake.

"The lake is still at 110 percent flood level, so it's over its flood stage," O'Brien said Wednesday afternoon. "I would not be out on it."

While the Army Corps of Engineers is releasing enough water to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool every 20 seconds, O'Brien says it's not enough to get his marina back in business this weekend.

"It's going to take a couple of weeks for it to probably get down in shape to where people can utilize it for recreational purposes," he says.

O'Brien says he would not recommend putting boats out on the water right now Officials decided to close the ramps and it's unclear if they'll reopen them for Memorial Day Weekend.

"There is debris that's coming loose now with the movement of the water. There's debris lines all over the lake," he says. "Trying to get out on the ramps will be very dangerous to personnel and equipment."

With another round of storms expected, O'Brien says he hopes his marina will be ready by the Fourth of July.

"We hope Mother Nature is very cooperative and we can continue to let water go down to get it down in shape," he says. "Give the park and maintenance crews time to clean everything up and get it ready for the Fourth of July. I think that will be a nice little gift."

It's a similar story at other popular camping sites including Toronto Lake where Eyewitness News saw Wednesday that the campground is heavily flooded.

The Army Corps of Engineers opened the floodgates at Toronto Lake Wednesday, sending water rushing downstream to Wilson County.

Wednesday, Eyewitness News learned Harvey County West Park will not be open for Memorial Day Weekend because of flooding. As of Wednesday evening, county leaders were working to make a decision about East Park. Through Wednesday, all areas are closed.

Today's flooding update: West Park will not be open for Memorial Day Weekend. Flooding is too severe and the river level forecast indicates the level will not drop until later in the week. We are unable to make a final decision regarding East Park at this time. Currently all areas are closed. We need more time to gather information to make an informed decision. When we close a park we do this with the primary consideration of safety first. We apologize that we can not be more decisive at this time when it comes to the accessibility of East Park. We understand that this is a big weekend for everyone. We will make a post as soon as we can make a confident decision that will be in everyone's best interest. As a reminder, when we close a park this means that we can not allow any camping, boating, swimming, hiking, horseback riding, site seeing, etc. If you can find access to the water without crossing a barricade then fishing is allowed. Thank you so much for your understanding and cooperation during this time. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Posted by Harvey County Parks on Wednesday, May 22, 2019

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