STRONG WINDS, HEAVY RAIN RAKE EL DORADO STATE PARK
Other southeast region parks also report damage from Friday morning storm
El Dorado State Park staff and volunteers are cleaning up debris and assessing damages of a storm that struck Butler County early Friday morning. Some areas of the park are temporarily closed or without power as a result of flooding, wind damage, and power outage sustained in the storm.
Park staff were still assisting park visitors, clearing roadways, and assessing damages Friday afternoon, said Jerry Hover, Parks Division director for the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks.
“The Walnut River area (located below the dam at El Dorado Reservoir) will most likely be closed all weekend,” Hover said. The Bluestem Point and Shady Creek areas of the park, located on the east side of the lake, are expected to be open this weekend, as well as the Boulder Bluff area on the west side of the lake, although no utilities will be available in campgrounds there. El Dorado State Park is the largest of the 24 state parks in Kansas, occupying 4,000 acres in four units along the eastern and western shores of El Dorado Reservoir.
Wind gusts of 80 to 100 miles an hour were reported in Butler County during the early morning storm, which also dumped heavy rains in parts of southcentral and southeast Kansas.
Electrical and telephone service was knocked out by a storm at Crawford State Park, located in eastern Crawford County, but electrical service was restored by late Friday afternoon. Some flooded roads were closed in the park, making campgrounds inaccessible until later in the weekend. Park staff reported that about four inches of rain fell in an hour early Friday morning. The park office was flooded, and had about four inches of water on the floor. Staff reported downed limbs in the park, but flooding of park roads and facilities was the main problem there.
Cross Timbers and Fall River state parks also experienced heavy rains, which were pushing lake levels toward flood pool. Toronto Reservoir, where Cross Timbers State Park is located, was 22 feet above conservation pool Friday afternoon, and staff was shutting down and removing electrical equipment at the lower-lying campgrounds. Fall River Reservoir was nearly 18 feet above conservation pool Friday afternoon. No major storm damage was reported at either of those parks.
Elk City State Park sustained some wind-inflicted tree damage. Although rainfall in the Elk City Reservoir area was not as heavy as some other locations, the lake was 17 feet above conservation pool and rising on Friday afternoon.