The water crested at 8 feet over full pool levels Wednesday, but steps were being taken to open flood gates and get the water to recede, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Linda Hartsfield, chief ranger over recreation for the Corps, said Wednesday all campgrounds were open, but some campsites remained under water.
“We are in the process of canceling those reservations (of campsites) that are under water,” she said. “Shelter reservations have been canceled, fishing tournaments have canceled or relocated and campsite reservations have been canceled, all due to high water.”
Hartsfield said Corps representatives believe the water has crested at 847.74 feet, almost 8 feet above summer full pool elevations of 840 feet.
“We have seen a drop because the floodgates are open,” she said. “We’re anticipating it dropping hopefully half a foot per day starting (today), provided there are no issues downstream and there is no more rain.”
But forecasts show the area is likely to get more rain Saturday and Sunday.
Open boat ramps this weekend include Payne Boat Ramp, Galt’s Ferry Boat Ramp and the Blockhouse Boat Ramp. Hartsfield warned that while these ramps are still open, visitors should watch for trees and plants that may have eroded from the banks as well as other debris.
“This is the first high water we’ve had since about 2009 to this extent,” she said. “With the debris washing out from the shoreline, I’d urge (visitors) to please be cautious.”
The Lake Allatoona watershed spreads across north Georgia, with water originating from the northern Etowah River, Allatoona Creek and other small tributaries.
“When conditions are right — we got 4 inches or rain last weekend — it can bring the lake up 2 to 3 feet at a time,” Hartsfield said. “It takes longer to reduce the lake levels because of the runoff from the tributaries. Plus, we have to be knowledgeable and cautious because of what’s going on downstream. We don’t want to flood out Rome.”
Hartsfield said she is hoping that if no other weather conditions or issues arise, the lake will be back in normal operation by May 19.
“It depends on additional rainfall and of course there is debris to clean up,” she said.
Acworth Mayor Tommy Allegood said Wednesday he visited Proctor’s Landing and Dallas Landing Park and saw the beaches were under water at both locations.
“At Dallas Landing, the water was all the way up in the parking lot,” Allegood said. “In my recent recollection, I haven’t seen it like that but one other time in the last 15 years.”
Allegood said the city is able to regulate the water levels of Lake Acworth unlike Lake Allatoona, which is controlled by the Army Corps of Engineers.
Because of the flooding, an annual wakeboarding event that typically draws more than 10,000 people to Dallas Landing Park will be moved to Cauble Park, according to city officials.
The MasterCraft Pro Wakeboard Tour will return to the city May 17-18, but with Allatoona water levels above full pool, the event will relocate to Lake Acworth.
James Albright, director of the Parks, Recreation and Community Resource Department, is coordinating the location change of the wakeboard tour.
“Unless there is a drastic change in the water levels, we fully expect to proceed with the event at Cauble Park,” he said.
Alrbight said the event was last in Cauble Park in 1999 and should be able to accommodate the crowds.
“The atmosphere at Dallas Landing is nice because you can see the crowds on the shoreline and on the boats, but it will work just fine at Cauble Park,” he said.
Albright said, like last year’s event, a majority of attendees will be shuttled from the downtown area where more parking is available.
The Friday event runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will feature food, music, athlete autograph signings and shopping. The main wakeboard event will take place Saturday from noon to 7 p.m. and will be televised nationally on the Versus Network.
Tickets are available online at www.prowake
boardtour.com or at the event.