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Turner Falls Park closed due to dangerously high water levels, flooding

Sierra Rains
srains@ardmoreite.com
A screenshot from a video depicting the high water levels at Turner Falls Park in Davis on Tuesday. Susan Suther, the Public Information Officer for the city of Davis, said the water was four feet above normal levels.

The Turner Falls Park in Davis will be closed until at least Friday due to dangerously high water levels and flooding. 

City of Davis Public Information Officer Susan Suther said the water rose four feet above normal levels after a severe storm system passed through Tuesday, forcing the park to close for the safety of the guests. 

Areas across southern Oklahoma also experienced heavy amounts of flooding, with several inches of rain hitting within only a few hours. Suther said several parts of Davis received quite a bit of water, with some of the main streets in town flooding. 

“We have some retention ponds that are designed to catch all of the water, but they couldn’t flow out as quickly as they were receiving it,” Suther said. “We had some water coming into our building just because it’s pooled on the sidewalks— it has nowhere to go when it comes in that fast.”

The water levels at Turner Falls have begun to recede, but are still too dangerous for visitors to enter, Suther said. On Wednesday, the water was still 2.21 feet above normal levels. 

“The problem is that you have some low level water crossings,” Suther said. “So if you get back in the park, you could get stranded. That’s the real issue — we don’t want anybody in there that really needs to get out not be able to get out or take the chance to drive across those low water crossings.”

Strong currents and rough waters in the swimming areas of the park are also too dangerous for guests at this time. Suther said guests who were at the park when the storm system hit were encouraged to exit and received assistance from park staff. 

The city tentatively plans to reopen the park on Friday. However, the weather could change that as more rain is expected on Wednesday and Thursday. 

“That is our goal — if it is safe to open we will, if it is not safe to open we won’t,” Suther said. “It just depends on the levels and the safety. If we get more rain between now and then, that will make that real hard to do but we just never know. We just have to get out there and see what we can do.” 

Individuals who have already paid for reservations at the park between now and the reopening date will be able to reschedule their reservations for a later date. 

“We understand that this is a freak thing — it’s not something that they could control or that we could control,” Suther said. “So we do our best to accommodate them at a future date.”

Damage from the flooding and the storm system has not yet been completely assessed due to the dangerous conditions. To see updates on the status of the park’s reopening or to reschedule a reservation, visit www.turnerfallspark.com or call (580) 369-2988.