Levels at Lake Texoma decrease; rare look at intake vortex

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DENISON, TX-- Lake Texoma has had an historic year, reaching the highest elevation in the lake's history.

About 55,000 cubic feet of water per second is being released from Lake Texoma through two hydropower generators and the floodgates. It is a site to see, but there is something of interest on the other side of the dam.

The video shows a rare view of an intake vortex at Lake Texoma.

"It's basically just a large whirlpool that's caused by the large gate openings, and all the water being evacuated through the gates," said Lake Manager Joe Custer.

The vortex is about eight feet wide and capable of sucking in a full sized boat. Custer said, "that's why we have the warning signs and buoy lines. People need to understand it's a very dangerous situation."

But it's one of the reasons why the levels at Lake Texoma are decreasing. Lake Manager Joe Custer says they don't plan on closing the floodgates.

"Once we're back within our flood control pool, under elevation 640, then we'll reduce the flow out of the floodgates so we can reduce the flooding downstream," said Custer.

Custer says that could happen in the next few days. "My best estimate is sometime Wednesday probably around noon or a little after," said Custer. "We'll hopefully be off the spillway by then."

Lisa Fielder brought her family out Monday to check out the spillway.

"I saw it as a child back in 1990 and I still remember it," said Fielder. "So I wanted them to see it as well."

Others, like Linda Erwin, missed seeing it go over back in 2007, and didn't want to miss history this time around. "The water is going down and it's not something that happens all the time," said Erwin.

The Army Corps says the lake could be at a normal elevation by late July.