Heavy rain leads to rising lake levels at Stockton Lake

STOCKTON, Mo. -- Heavy rains between 4-6 inches over the past 24 hours brought flooding to the Stockton Lake area, where the lake level rose a foot overnight.

"The lake right now is about 10-feet above normal pool," explained Rod Hendricks, the Stockton Dam Project Manager with the U.S. Corps of Engineers. "So roughly about 10-15 percent of our campsites are covered with water. Our swim beaches are pretty well all covered, so a lot of areas are impacted this coming weekend for the Memorial weekend."

Several roads are also closed including Route M just off Highway 32. MoDOT workers showed up at the "Road Closed" sign at one point early in the afternoon to re-position the barriers after someone had moved them so they could drive around them.

Not a smart move.

But considering Stockton's downtown square was wiped out in 2003 by a tornado, most residents don't tempt fate when and do the right thing when there's a threat of bad weather.

"The residents that were here at that time don't forget," Hendricks said. "Anytime a storm warning is issued and the sirens go off, they pay pretty close attention to it."

The rising lake level also affects the many boat docks on the lake like the Mutton Creek Marina, near Arcola,which has over 200 slips. The employees there have been kept very busy as the rapid rise in water level has to be addressed immediately.

"If you don't let it out as the lake comes up, the anchors will actually keep the dock from floating," said employee Mike Norris. "They'll actually sink the dock."

So there are over 100 winches located throughout the docks where the tension on the anchors is adjusted.

"Each one of these cables has a 3-4,000-pound concrete anchor on the other end of it and in this severe weather it's a pretty good job (to keep constantly making the adjustments)."

The weather is expected to improve by this coming Memorial weekend, but the lake levels will still be high.

"If you do come out we want you to have a good time but be safe out there," Hendricks said. "It's a whole new lake out there with this lake level and there could be some hidden hazards you're not aware of."

"Absolutely be safe," Norris added. "There's a lot of floating hazards, trees and what have you, floating in the lake. If you're boating pay extra attention. be extra cautious."

Hendricks said that the lake levels are expected to remain elevated at least through the end of this month.