[Editor's note: This story was updated at 8:56 a.m. Saturday with new figures]
Memorial Day weekend is here, but the typical activities associated with the holiday are being heavily affected by recent rains.
Many of the most popular state parks in eastern Kansas have closed down to campers because of the high waters, while anglers and other boaters are left sitting high and dry as several boat ramps are completely underwater.
Perry State Park is almost completely inaccessible, with Village Greens Golf Course looking like a swamp right now to boot, to the chagrin of golf enthusiasts. The Hookers and Reelers restaurant and lodge at Lake Perry Marina had to close down with water creeping inside as of Wednesday, and according to a statement posted on the marina’s Facebook page, the docks could soon lose power, as well.
“Depending on how high the lake raises the power to all the docks may be compromised so please be prepared for the worst. If it comes to this, we will notify you,” the statement said. “Our crew is working hard to keep access to all the docks. At this time everything is accessible however with the rainfall coming some docks may have limited access by the next day. Please call ahead to check on access and extensions will be made as they are needed.”
The marina also said the Lake Perry Fireworks show on July 6 has been postponed, though donations are still being taken. Those wishing to support the fireworks show can do so Sunday by eating at the Gambino’s Pizza located at 510 E. Front St. in Perry, where 20 percent of all proceeds will go toward the show. A makeup date for the show will be announced at a later time.
The U.S Army Corps of Engineers said in a news release Wednesday that Slough Creek, Rock Creek and Old Town campgrounds and Perry Park Beach were all closed.
Lake View Shower House and the cabins are closed until further notice, according to the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, and the Wild Horse Campground and the area north of the park office is without power. The water level has risen to a point that transformers and electrical boxes have been compromised. Wild Horse includes the bath/shower house. The campground is still open and generators are still allowed to be run.
Cottonwood Bridge is closed, as is the swim beach and Catfish Alley, Mulberry Grove, Hobie Cove, Pelican Point, Hideaway and the fish cleaning station.
None of the boat ramps are open, and the Kansas Crappie Club’s fishing tournament June 1-2 on Perry will likely have to be postponed because of the conditions, according to tournament organizer Joe Bragg. The makeup date will be announced at a later time.
The Muddy Waters Hunting and Fishing Adventures crappie tournament at Perry also has been postponed, according to Dennis Ruble. The event will be pushed back to Sept. 14. The group's catfish tournament is still scheduled to take place Aug. 24. For more information, contact Dennis Ruble at 913-683-0147 or email email@example.com.
Because of the high levels at Perry, which reached 26.1 feet above its conservation level as of Friday night, the Kansas City District Water Management and lake project personnel will hold a public meeting from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday at Perry-Lecompton High School, 404 Lecompton Road in Perry. District personnel will present a brief summary of current conditions, a description of how the Corps manages the system, the impacts on recreation and stakeholders, expected releases and overall outlook. Attendees will be invited to ask questions, and the event will be live streamed at https://www.facebook.com/usace.kcd/.
As of Friday, the lake was sitting at 85.6 percent of its flood plain, according to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers data, the highest mark in the Missouri River basin. That number climbed to 89.2 percent overnight into Saturday morning. The Corps said in a release Friday evening that it may begin flood water evacuation from Perry this weekend if heavy rains persisted.
The KDWPT also reported on Thursday that Elk City State Park is completely closed and all campgrounds and day-use areas at Fall River State Park are closed.
Other eastern Kansas lakes and reservoirs have been hit hard by Mother Nature, as well:
At Clinton Reservoir, all of the state park boat ramps were closed, as well as the beach, the marina and the Red Trail and Blue Trail, according to the KDWPT. The park is still open, however.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said the water level at the lake rose by 2 feet on Tuesday.
As of Saturday morning, 48.9 percent of Clinton's flood pool was under water.
Cheney had to let off a record rate of water Wednesday into the Ninnescah River, according to Sedgwick County officials.
"This portion will overflow by 8 a.m. Wednesday," the county said in a news release Tuesday. "The extent of the flooding in the north branch from this release is presently undetermined. This channel's normal water capacity is 1,500 cubic feet per second and it will have about 4,200 cubic feet per second flowing through when the gates are opened."
The west boat ramp was reportedly still open Friday.
East Shore and Lakeview campgrounds and the marina are open, according to the KDWPT. Lake View sites are filled, and the remainder of that area is closed. In the West Shore Area, Harding Hill and Geifer Hill nonutility sites are open and available. Half of Smarsh Creek utility sites are open, but the remainder of that area is closed.
Council Grove Marina, which was already in dire straights before the rains of this week, is putting on a summer program now called “2019 Hell or High Water” to provide lakegoers all the benefits of the marina from its dry dock at 1025 Lake Road, including tackle and bait, water toys, boat rentals and sales, lake apparel and a music event from 6 to 10 p.m. May 26 featuring Rudy and the Lost Boys and cowboy poet and western entertainers Geff Dawson and Dawn.
Food and drinks will be available for sale at the music event, and concert-goers are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs, though no coolers.
El Dorado State Park is seeing record-high waters, officially breaking the previous high-water mark set in 1998 of 1,347.31 feet on Wednesday and continuing to rise, according to the City of El Dorado Public Utilities Department. As of 7 am. Saturday, the water had risen to 1,348.82 feet.
In the Walnut River area, all campgrounds, cabins, shelter, trails and day-use areas were open as of Thursday, per the KDWPT. Campsites and cabins have all been reserved for the holiday weekend.
The Shady Creek Area has some nonutility sites available in several campgrounds and the Shady Creek boat ramp is the only usable ramp on the lake.
Bluestem Point campgrounds 1, 2, 3 and 4 are closed, according to the KDWPT. Utility Campgrounds 5, 6 and 7 have about 50 percent of their campsites open and usable. All usable sites are reserved for the weekend. Bemis Creek campground has 12 usable utility campsites but they are all reserved. The archery and firearms ranges are open.
John Redmond Reservoir near Emporia opened its floodgates Wednesday. Home owners downstream from the reservoir on the Neosho River were preparing for potential flooding in Burlington as water levels crept higher. As of Saturday morning, the reservoir was 27.6 feet above normal.
The Kansas Crappie Trail’s tournament Saturday on Melvern was postponed as flood waters continue to rise and the courtesy docks have been pulled. Its next regularly scheduled event will be June 20 on Perry Reservoir, assuming the lake is open by then. For more information, contact Dylan Faulconer at KansasCrappieTrail@yahoo.com or (913) 416-3481.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said the following sites have also been closed:
Arrow Rock: Sites 8-10, 12-15, 19 and 35-45 are closed through June 30. Sites 6 and 7 are closed through June 20.
Coeur d'Alene: Sites 9-32 are closed through June 30.
Turkey Point: Sites 1-8 and 23 are closed through May 30. Sites 9-22 are closed through June 30. Site 30 is closed through May 28, with a closure extension to come. Turkey Point Group Camp is closed through June 30.
The Corps said to expect several more closure extensions in the Turkey Point Campground to come in the following days. Arrow Rock and Coeur d'Alene closure extensions possible. Should these sites come out from under water and be cleaned up before their closure end date, they will be opened up for reservations.
As of Saturday morning, Melvern sat at 77.1 percent of its flood plain.
Milford not only is heavily flooded but also had a tornado narrowly miss it to the east on Tuesday.
All boat ramps and beaches were closed as of Thursday, according to the KDWPT, with water sitting 23.39 feet above its conservation level on Saturday morning.
Other closures included Honey Locust Cabin, the south fish cleaning station, Sprung Hunt, the fish cleaning station at the Marina boat ramp, the Pump-A-Head Station at the Yacht Club and the following campgrounds: Cedar Point sites 7-40, all of Prairie View, Walnut Grove sites 12-13, 16-25 and 28-29, Woodland Hills sites 65-66, 68-72 and 74-88. Day Use Shelters Nos. 8, 9 and 10 also were closed.
As of Saturday morning, Milford sat at 66.5 percent of its flood plain after rising more than a foot from Friday.
Boat ramps and roads near Pomona Lake have been closed down, as well as the swim beach and many of the campsites, though the park was open as of Thursday.
As of Saturday morning, Pomona sat at 77.7 percent of its flood plain.
Tuttle Creek was more than 55 feet above conservation level as of Saturday, though the state park is open. Tuttle Creek Cove and Stockdale parks will be closed through at least June 23, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced last weekend.
“Visitors should be aware most lakeside parks and facilities are closed or significantly impacted,” a news release said. “These areas will likely remain closed for some time once flood waters recede to allow for significant cleanup and repair efforts.”
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said there was a potential from releases from the Tuttle Creek Dam on Monday through the outlet works known as "the tubes."
As of Saturday morning, Tuttle Creek sat at 84.6 percent of its flood plain after rising 2.22 feet since Friday.