Our area typically receives 8 inches of rain per month during July and August. The rain gauge at Warner University has recorded 26 inches over the last 30 days. This has led to a dramatic increase in the water level of Crooked Lake. As of August 14, the gauge at Bob’s Landing reads 120.5 feet relative to the North American Vertical Datum of 1988 (NAVD88). This is three feet higher than mid-July. This is the highest Crooked Lake has been since 2005. During that year, Crooked Lake reached a peak of 122.4 feet NAVD88.
During periods of high water, Crooked Lake can discharge to Lake Clinch via a canal that includes multiple culverts, such as the culvert under County Road (CR) 630A. Water is currently flowing through the ditch at CR 630A toward Lake Clinch.
Between CR 630A and Crooked Lake, a control structure was built many decades ago with a weir elevation of approximately 119 feet NAVD88. In response to local complaints about high water, representatives from Polk County visited the weir on August 14 and confirmed that approximately 11 inches of water was flowing over the weir. Polk County staff will continue to evaluate the weir and the canal to determine whether additional maintenance is feasible. The weir and the canal are located on private properties, which limits the local and state agencies ability to perform regular maintenance.
Canals and ditches that drain into Crooked Lake, particularly those in the vicinity of US 27, continue to flow at a very high rate. Our expectation is that the water level of Crooked Lake will increase as the watershed continues to drain into the lake – and as more rain is forecast for our area.