WAURIKA LAKE, OK (KSWO) -More than a week after flooding swept through the area, officials at Waurika Lake say parts of the lake may still be closed for the Fourth of July weekend.
Water from the lake is still running over electrical boxes, picnic tables and grills that are at the campgrounds. There are four campgrounds at Waurika Lake, and as of right now only one small portion of one of those campgrounds is actually open. Every boat ramp at the lake has been shut down temporarily because there is not enough slope visible to safely put a boat in the water.
No one really knows how long those portions of the lake will be closed. With the Fourth of July right around the corner, they know people are anxious to get their plans squared away and they're looking for a definitive answer. Waurika Lake manager Louis Holstead said they cannot control the weather, and even a little more rain could be a huge set back.
Holstead says they have been working around the clock with the Fourth of July weekend serving as their motivation.
"We are working and will have as many campsites available as we can by the July Fourth holiday weekend. We do have reservations here at Waurika Lake and we've had to cancel and refund many of those customers' reservation fees," Holstead said.
Holstead said the campgrounds still have to be cleared of debris, but fortunately he doesn't believe they'll have many problems with the boat ramps. They have been releasing water since the flooding occurred, though they can only release so much at one time to prevent any flooding downstream.
Holstead says the lake is dropping about a quarter of a foot each day, and he believes some of the boat ramps could be open by the weekend. They are doing everything they can to lower the water level in the lake without causing further problems downstream. Water rushing out of the lake goes toward Beaver Creek.
Holstead says the people who have tried to come to the closed lake have naturally been disappointed, but understanding.
"While the recreation is very important to our customers, most of them have been very understanding and realize that the flood risk management portion is our priority mission and we have to make sure that it's adhered to," Holstead said.
Holstead says once people can get back on the lake, they should be very careful. With the water so high, and being so murky, there may be debris in the water that they cannot see.
Before you head out to the lake, call ahead or go online to see if your campsite is open.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-Waurika Lake Office
Kiowa Park I – Gatehouse
Chisholm Trail Gatehouse