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Fort Gibson Lake officials urging caution with high lake levels

Posted at 7:12 AM, Jul 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-09 09:09:26-04

TULSA, Okla. — With some sunshine in the forecast for the weekend, Green Country lakes are sure to be full of people enjoying them. However, recent rains mean that fun-filled lake trips are more dangerous than normal, even for the best swimmers.

Fort Gibson is a lake to be wary of this weekend thanks to all the rain we've gotten lately. A man drowned there over the holiday weekend.

The Army Corps of Engineers says water levels at the lake are high. They say in order to release water through the dam, they have to make sure the rivers downstream can handle the load of water.

Street run-off put too much water into our river systems causing the Corps to put a hold on the release of water. The Army Corps of Engineers manages 13 reservoirs in eastern Oklahoma.

They say it's a balancing act to manage water levels. If they release water from one dam, they have to wait to release water from another because of the situation downstream. The recent heavy rain made their job that much more challenging, especially when it comes to keeping our river system from getting too high.

“We do that to try and keep the channel of the river within those banks. We want to keep as much space available in the river channel as possible while safely reducing the lake levels,” a spokesperson for the Army Corps of Engineers, Brannen Parrish said

Right now, the corp is playing catch-up now that some of the water run-offs have ended. Since midnight on Thursday, engineers have been releasing around 40,000 cubic feet of water per second. That's equivalent to an Olympic-sized swimming pool every two seconds. They are expecting the lake to be at about 5 feet above normal levels by July 19.

For now, Mallard Bay and Wahoo Bay are closed and the boat ramp at Flat Rock Creek is also closed.

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