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Archive for Tuesday, June 29, 1999

FLOODING THREATENS JULYFESTIVITIES

June 29, 1999

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Areas of Perry Lake will be closed through the Fourth of July weekend because of high water. The lake is expected to crest 13 feet above normal on Wednesday.

One of the largest fireworks displays in the state is at risk of being postponed or canceled because of high water at Perry Lake.

"If it didn't rain anymore, there wouldn't be a problem," Frank Funk, project manager for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, said Monday. "If it does rain some more, we've got some decisions to make."

Army Corps of Engineers park rangers on Monday closed areas of the lake, including Rock Creek Park near the dam on the lake's southwest side, Funk said.

That area will be closed through the holiday weekend, he said.

"That is a favorite spot for a lot of people to watch the fireworks," he said.

The fireworks show is tentatively set for 10 p.m. Sunday.

Typically, a crowd of 10,000 to 15,000 comes to the lake to see a fireworks show, with an estimated 60,000 total visitors for the holiday weekend, Funk said.

The lake level on Monday was 898.2 feet. It was expected to rise to 903 feet by this morning and to 904.5 feet on Wednesday morning -- 13 feet above the normal pool of 891.5 feet.

The lake's all-time high is 921 feet, set in 1993.

Funk said that, in addition to Rock Creek Park, other areas of the lake will be affected -- and probably closed for the holiday weekend -- because of the high water.

Mike Stanley, an employee at Lake Perry Yacht & Marina Inc., said the lower parking lot of the marina is expected to again be covered with water.

The marina has experienced flooding and/or storm damage three times in the last six years.

Stanley said, however, the marina would be open.

At Clinton Lake, conditions were much better.

"As it stands right now, everything is still open, and the lake level is really just a little bit above normal," said Kipp Walters, park ranger with the corps of engineers.

"I think it would have to come up quite a bit to affect any of our areas," he said.

"We will have a big crowd, and we do expect our campgrounds to fill up," Walters said.

About 60,000 visitors are expected at Clinton Lake for the holiday weekend.

There is a chance for more thunderstorms tonight through Friday, said John Woynick, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Topeka.

The extended outlook calls for dry and hot conditions Saturday through Monday, "but we could still have some widely scattered thunderstorms," Woynick said.

-- Michael Dekker's phone message number is 832-7187. His e-mail address is mdekker@ljworld.com.

  • For the complete weather forecast, see Page 8D.

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