Skiatook Lake, long below normal level from drought, releases massive amounts of water for first time in years
Following years of drought, the lake hit an all-time low — 17.69 feet below normal — in March 2015 at 696.31 feet.
Late Saturday, the lake rose to nearly 718 feet and started releasing water by thousands of cubic feet for the first time in recent memory.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released a video of the scene below the dam Monday, clearly showing strong flow and water levels sloshing up onto structures, high into trees and over vegetation that has not seen water for some time.
“We have to, by law, get the lake back down to normal levels as quickly as possible,” said Brannen Parrish, a spokesman for the Corps of Engineers’ Tulsa District.
Birch Lake also is more than 4 feet above normal and was releasing about 950 cubic feet per second Monday, Parrish said.
The added flow in Bird Creek likely won’t be too noticeable.
The channel capacity in the creek in 11,000 cfs.
Other lakes and rivers with significant flow after the weekend rains include the Grand River system, where Fort Gibson Lake, most notably, was releasing 60,000 cfs on Monday with an expected increase to 75,000 forecast for Tuesday morning.
Most of the lakes in eastern Oklahoma were below normal levels in recent weeks.
Lake Tenkiller was below normal for weeks but rose to 2 feet above normal on Saturday afternoon.