High water levels prompt closures at Lake Monroe

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MONROE COUNTY, Ind. – Washouts in central Indiana are causing flooding in some areas. State parks are on high alert as they brace for more rain that is expected to contribute to water levels and road closures.

Lake Monroe is left soaked and saturated after recent rainfall, leaving water levels 13 ½ feet above normal.

“Right now Monroe reservoirs, it’s not completely full but it’s getting close. We’re at about 13 ½ feet above normal pool. So that’s impacting all kind of resources in the area,” said Department of Natural Resources Lt. Angela Goldman.

This is forcing some to take alternate routes using kayaks, canoes and detours to get to their final destination. Water levels are affecting Paynetown Recreation, campgrounds and beaches, causing many to turn around.

“One of the biggest problems we’re having now with this high-water, it is impacting the campgrounds. There are a number of sites that are closed for the foreseeable future. If you are affected, if you have a reserve site that has been affected, you have been notified,” said Goldman.

The lake is part of a flood controlled project run by the United States Army Corps of Engineering. They use a dam to evenly distribute water, but with the recent showers, that can be a bit challenging.

“Without us being able to get back to our summer pool of 538 feet above sea level, we aren’t able to get rid of that water. When we had that last rain event, it brought us up to the point where we’re about 13 ½ feet over that at 551 feet,” said Lake Monroe Resource Park Manager Shannon Phelps.

Phelps says this is not out of the ordinary but it’s more than normal. However, they can’t release water until it reaches the spillway which is meant to control levels downstream.

“The spillway is 18 feet above at 556. Once the water gets to that point, it pours freely through the spillway and we will hold back since downstream is flooded,” said Phelps.

Officials don’t expect water to reach the spillway but it’s something they will continue to monitor. In the meantime, park officials are urging people to use life jackets and extreme caution due to debris and uneven levels in the water.

“If you see areas that are marked off, please don’t go around barriers and don’t enter the water in areas that you shouldn’t,” said Goldman.

Officials have reached out to affected campers. They’ve also canceled a couple of upcoming boating tournaments and rescheduled some events. Meanwhile, they will continue monitoring the water levels over the next couple of days.

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