With abnormally dry conditions now reaching into western Grayson County, swimming at two area lakes is becomming more difficult.
The beaches at Rough River State Resort Park and Nolin Lake State Park have both been closed due to low lake levels. According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Rough River Lake was 4.2 feet below summer pool of 495 feet Friday morning. Nolin Lake was at 513 feet, two feet below its summer pool.
“We’ve got plenty of beach — we just don’t have any water,” park manager Michael Ricks said Friday.
With the lake well below summer pool, the normal shallow swimming area off the beach just isn’t there, Ricks explained. And with one of the deepest parts of Rough River Lake just beyond the swimming area, it’s currently not a safe spot for swimming, he explained.
For weeks, drought conditions have been spreading across the western portion of the state. Level I drought declarations have been issued from the Purchase area east to Hancock and Ohio counties, according to the Office of the State Climatologist. Abnormally dry conditions are also being noted in western Grayson and Breckinridge counties.
Ricks said the state park is seeing some disappointed visitors who’d wanted to use the beach, but he doesn’t think overall park usage is down.
“There’s not much we can do,” he said. “Mother Nature didn’t ask our opinion.”
The Corps of Engineers hasn’t banned swimming at its beaches off the Axtel campground and at North Fork, but reaching the water is a lot more difficult. Thursday afternoon, the buoy lines at North Fork were noticibly far from the water’s edge.
The low water levels haven’t prompted cancellation of the Cardboard Boat Regatta planned for June 23 at the North Fork beach, said the Corps’ Adam Warren. The launching spot will be moved, though, to the left side of the beach.
At this time, the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center is indeterminate about summer drought conditions, said Chip Zimmer, environmental technologist at the Kentucky Division of Water.
“Short-term forecasts for the western Kentucky region call for dry weather and record heat,” said Zimmer.