Flooding closes parts of Lake Somerville State Park

SOMERVILLE, Tex. (KBTX) - Increased rain chances have state park officials in Somerville concerned. Flooding forced them to shut down parts of the park Monday, a decision they say is hurting their busy season.

"There is nowhere to park because, as we see, the lot here is under water,” said John Rorie, Lake Somerville State Park Complex Superintendent.

Heavy rains Friday caused the lake's level to rise more than ten feet. Officials closed some campsites that were submerged under water, the boat ramp and the day-use lots.

Park officials have seen flooding before, like the record flooding in May 2015. This year they've prepared by shutting off electricity to vulnerable campsites and suspending water service.

"Everything that would be destroyed by the flood, we're mitigating all of that so that when the water goes down, instead of having to repair or replace all of that, we just reinstall it,” said Rorie.

Rorie says spring is peak season at the park and the latest closures are taking a toll on community’s economic impact and conservation efforts.

"Local businesses depend on the state park for our visitation,” said Rorie. “The trees behind me are between 80 and 100 years old, so I don’t know if they can handle another flood.”

He hopes the rest of the park can be reopened sooner rather than later.

"We don't need three to four inches of rain; we need no rain for a little while,” said Rorie.

Right now the lake is nearly at capacity. If it gets any more rain before the water recedes, the Texas Corps of Engineers will need to determine if the floodgates should be released.

If you have a camping reservation you can contact the park staff to check if your campsite is still open. The number is (979) 535-7763, or you can visit their website at https://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/lake-somerville