Drought causes drop in Lake Thunderbird water level

Because of an ongoing drought, Lake Thunderbird's shoreline is receding. The lake's water level is five feet below normal.
BY JANE GLENN CANNON jcannon@opubco.com Published: February 25, 2012
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Lake Thunderbird's shoreline is about five feet below normal and could drop even lower if it's a dry spring, Lake Superintendent Neal Engleman said.

Little River Marina owner Bob Davis said so far boaters haven't been deterred by the receding shoreline, a result of ongoing drought conditions, despite two boat ramps being closed.

“Because of the mild weather we've been having, we're seeing a lot of activity, especially on the weekends,” Davis said.

Without rain, Engleman said, the level could drop another five feet by summer, but “one really good storm could restore it. But it would have to be a really big storm.”

The lake level dropped about 10 feet in 2006 during a drought, Davis said.

“That's the lowest I can ever remember it being. I learned my lesson then. I learned not to worry about it. I can't make it rain by worrying, so I just don't,” he said.

So far, the low water level hasn't affected business, Davis said.

If the level drops another five feet, Davis said, “then it would hurt. I've got about 14 slips that would become unusable if it goes that low.”

Lake Thunderbird is a drinking water supply for Norman, Midwest City and Del City.

A severe, continuing drought could result in restrictions being placed on water use during the summer months, Engleman said.

“It's too soon to tell if that will be necessary,” he said.