Barkley nearly 10 feet above summer pool
by Franklin Clark, Reporter --
May 12, 2010 | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Lake Barkley crested at about 369 feet at 6 p.m. Friday, and it hasn’t increased since then. However, it had gone down about a foot as of Monday, said Allison Jarrett of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The typical summer pool for the lake is 359 feet, while the winter pool is 354 feet, Jarrett said.

“Under normal operations, we allow our lakes to rise to a summer pool, or a higher elevation,” said Jarrett. “This water is held in the lake for storage so we can release it into the river periodically during the dry summer season.”

In the winter, the Corps keeps the lake elevation lower to ensure there is room in the lake to capture rainfall runoff from rain events throughout the wet winter and spring months, Jarrett continued.

Randy Wade of Trigg County Emergency Management Agency said that while no homes have been flooded that he knows of, many roads have been, and the damage to those roads is estimated at $30,000 a number he expects will probably rise once the water recedes.

Flooding over the roads has made it more difficult for people to get to their homes, but with the exception of some in and around the Linton community, most people have been able to find different routes, Wade said.

Cadiz Public Works Director Kerry Fowler said he also didn’t know of any homes in Cadiz that had been flooded, and added that although there was flooding, he didn’t think there was any damage to either city roads or West Cadiz Park, which has been flooded for more than a week.

“We were very lucky in town, with only a couple of trees blown down and some debris washed in the roadway,” Fowler said.

A portion of all lakefront property is owned by the Corps of Engineers, and how large the portion is depends on the elevation, as that portion could be underwater during a flood, Jarrett said.

A homeowner has to ask the Corps of Engineers for permission to build on that portion, and while a boat dock or other similar structure could be approved, the Corps wouldn’t approve the building of a house on that portion, said Jarrett.

John Jordan, administrator for Lake Barkley State Resort Park, said the beach and beach house, the marina, the hiking trails, the back nine holes of the golf course and playground near the lodge have all been closed due to flooding.

“Maybe people will start fishing on the golf course,” Jordan jokingly said.

Electricity was lost briefly because of winds that knocked out two poles during the rainstorm but has since been restored, said Jordan, who added that it had nothing to do with the flooding.

Jordan said he hopes the beach and hiking trails will be re-opened by mid-June. One of the 12 lift stations that move water around in the campgrounds is underwater, and will probably have to be replaced, he pointed out, also saying that such lift stations generally cost about $3,000.

Jordan also said that much the park has not been damaged and is still open for business, including the convention center, where the Trigg County Prom was held on Saturday night.

As far as damages go, Jordan said there will probably be silt on the golf course, and it’s possible that some of the sand on the beach will be gone. The wiring at the beach house will probably have to be replaced and any flood damage will have to be fixed, added Jordan.

Greg Batts of Prizer Point Marina has also had some flood damages, and said he has lost some business because of the high water, but also said that most of his facilities remain open and intact.

Up to 70 percent of the campsites had to be closed and the gas tanks had to be sealed so that they wouldn’t leak gas into the water, said Batts.

“I knew this could happen when I bought Prizer Point,” Batts said of the flooding.

Batts added that he expects Prizer Point to be fully open by Memorial Day weekend at the latest, which he said is one of his biggest weekends.

“The massive amount of rain that fell this past weekend obviously took us out of normal operations and shot the lake level at Barkley and all our projects upstream of Barkley to extremely high levels,” Jarrett said.

The Corps of Engineers released as much water as possible as early as possible from Barkley into the Ohio River as soon as they saw this rain event materializing, but the massive amount of water coming down the Cumberland River from upstream in Nashville and even further up caused Barkley to continue to rise, not to mention how much rain entered the lake locally, said Jarrett.

“We continued to release as much water as possible from the dam to lower the lake, but eventually had to cut back so as to minimize flooding downstream,” Jarrett said. “We manage the whole river system to minimize flooding both upstream on our lakes and downstream on our rivers, and it’s a very complicated balancing act.

“Although some damages in a situation this bad are unavoidable, our water managers and the operation of our dams kept the situation from being much worse.”
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