Flood Roundup: Campgrounds Threatened
Here are brief updates on the status of floodwaters threatening RV parks and campgrounds around the U.S.:
Inmates from the Concordia (La.) Parish Correctional Facility were lifting sandbags onto the Vidalia Conference and Convention Center temporary levees today (May 16) to help stabilize a portion of the levee that was reportedly breached Sunday evening, the Natchez (Miss.) Democrat reported.
Water from the Mississippi River could be seen surrounding the building inside the temporary levees as inmate crews changed shifts early Monday morning. It doesn’t appear as if any water reached the interior of the convention center as of early Monday morning.
On Saturday, floodwaters threatened the Riverview RV Park along the riverbanks upriver in Natchez. A source said water is now up 2 or 3 feet on the bathrooms at the River View RV Park, but the park itself is dry.
The river is expected to crest on May 21.
Swollen by heavy rains, the Naches River in Washington was expected to reach its third-highest level in history late Sunday (May 15), the Yakima Herald-Republic reported.
High waters closed sections of roadway in the Nile area starting Sunday morning, but so far property damage from flooding has been limited.
Further downriver, a bridge crossing the river at the Wonderland Campground along Highway 12 was in jeopardy late Sunday, with some reports that it had buckled, Hall said.
The river had risen essentially all the way to the bridge by Sunday afternoon, with tree-trunk-size logs banging into it at speeds high enough that the impact could be heard a quarter-mile down the road.
At least some residents of the Wonderland Campground, which includes several year-round homes, were evacuated.
Steve Morgan, who lives in a doublewide trailer across the highway from the river, spent hours Sunday watching the water rise and listening to those logs thump against the bridge.
“It’s come up probably a good foot since I’ve been out here,” he said. “At least.”
in Cache County, northeast of Salt Lake City, Carl’s RV Park with about a dozen trailers has been evacuated, KSTU-TV- Salt Lake City, reported. The same park flooded earlier this week. Crews are also gearing up to possibly evacuate the Country Manors subdivision if flooding worsens. Volunteers placed 1,200 sandbags near the subdivision to keep as much water out as possible.
Carl Washington is among the residents of the RV park who left after a strong recommendaton from city officials.
“They said because of the danger of a flash flood,” said Washington.
Water levels are dropping at Wappapello Lake in Wayne County, 35 miles southwest of Cape Girardeau, KFVS-TV, Cape Gireadeau reported.
Water has dropped about seven feet since the crest on May third. The lake as of Friday afternoon was down to 393.3 feet. Normal stage is about 359 feet.
Water is no longer coming over the overflow spillway, but now that it is no longer rushing through you can really see the damage it caused.
Damage estimates are still in the $18 million range.
It is going to be awhile before Highway T is rebuilt. Officials are assessing whether to construct another road, or build a bridge. Money remains the biggest factor.
Meanwhile, the public can now drive over the dam and to the Visitor’s Center area to view the aftermath during daylight hours.
Park Ranger John Daves wants people to know it is going to be a long road, but already things are starting to improve.
“We are dropping three quarters of a foot a day,” said John Daves. “That’s significant in light of where we were.”
One of the campgrounds at the park opened Thursday. They are also now allowing boaters on the lake to fish.
No word on when swimming will be allowed, or when the other campgrounds will open.
All activities planned for the month of June on the lake have been canceled.
Camping and lake access opportunities are returning as flood waters recede at Land Between The Lakes (LBL) National Recreation Area in Western Kentucky. Lake levels for Lake Barkley and Kentucky Lake are currently at 366.4 feet and dropping, Clarksville Online reported.
The majority of campsites are open at Energy Lake Campground; all sites will open by May 20. Hillman Ferry Campground expects to open reservations sites on May 20, and have all seasonal sites open by May 28; walk-in sites may not be available until after May 28. Piney Campground expects to open to seasonal campers May 19, and have reservation sites open by May 20. On May 20, visitors may begin making camping reservations for Hillman Ferry and Piney campgrounds.
Flooding will close two campgrounds in Moriah, N.Y., for an indefinite period of time, WCAX-TV, South Burlington, Vt., reported.
The beach and campground in Port Henry and at Bulwagga Bay were supposed to open in April, but didn’t due to flooding and 10,000 dead alewives along the shoreline. Officials then hoped to have them open by Mother’s Day, but the water is still too high. It’s a lot of lost money for the communities.
“Mother Nature– that’s what it depends on. When the lake level drops enough when we can go in and assess damages and find out when we can get the power back on and safe, that is the primary goal here is safety for our residents and visitors,” Moriah Town Supervisor Tom Scozzafava said.
Even portions of Canada are experiencing flooding. Richard Haime, owner of Mississippi Lake RV Resort near Ottawa, Ontario, reports his campground is flooding.
Public works officials from both Beckwith Township and Mississippi Mills converged on their joint border last week to find out what was causing flooding, Your Ottawa Region Online reported.
Haime is blaming a vacant field on the north side of Town Line Road for flooding his Mississippi Mills property.
“All of this guy’s water is pouring down here,” said Haime, standing in the middle of the road with the officials on May 6. “It’s pouring onto our property. You’re ruining my business. It (happens) every, every year.”
Haime claimed that his park sustained more than $100,000 in damage after last month’s severe windstorm and that the damage, coupled with the flooding, has pushed back the park’s opening by at least three weeks.
Troy Dunlop, Mississippi Mills director of roads and public works, said that the culvert that runs underneath the road from the field to Haime’s property was most certainly not installed during the last eight years.
“We can research the history,” Dunlop said, who added that this year has seen record amounts of rain as well.
“This isn’t a municipal drain,” said Dunlop, pointing to the culvert. “It’s a natural water flow.”
“It’s easy to throw up your hands and say it’s a natural water course,” replied Haime. “When they put the road in, they should have put it in higher. This stuff comes up through my roads. It blows holes in my roads.”
Dunlop repeated that he had no record of any municipality putting the culvert in.
“Somebody’s opened that up,” charged Haime, pointing to his land near the drain. “It wasn’t there before. It was one of the county’s trucks that came in and did that,” to widen the ditch.
Dunlop replied that the meeting had been pulled together in two days and that it would take some time to come up with some answers.
“I’m paying my damn taxes to you guys to solve this,” said Haime.
“There’s nothing more we can do (now),” said Mississippi Mills Mayor John Levi, on the scene, who later was taken on a private tour of Haime’s property to survey the water and wind damage.
The meeting followed a presentation Haime gave to Beckwith Township council on Tuesday, May 3.
“Close it off,” Haime said of the culvert at the council that night. “Make it so that the water stays in Mississippi Mills,” in the empty field.
“There should be a municipal drain,” said Beckwith Township Reeve Richard Kidd, who promised to then arrange a meeting with Mississippi Mills.
“It can’t be a long, bureaucratic process,” Kidd added, stressing the need for action. “If there’s nothing over there, why not plug it up?”
Haime added that he is now getting flies from the stagnant water caused by the flooding.
“I’m getting it 24 hours a day,” said Haime.