The past winter’s lack of snow and lower-than-average spring rains have prompted federal officials to issue a warning about lake levels in western Pennsylvania and parts of Ohio.
Water levels are down slightly locally, but the Cambria-Somerset region is not in an area of the greatest concern.
The water at the breast of the Quemahoning Dam is down some, but that will not prevent whitewater releases planned for Saturday and Sunday, said Earl Waddell, manager of the Cambria Somerset Authority.
“For whitewater release, it cannot drop more than one foot below the spillway, and we’re not at a half-foot,” Waddell said. “We’re holding our own.”
Water levels at authority facilties approved for recreational uses have not been compromised. All should be open for full use during the July 4 holiday, he said.
The same cannot be said for many lakes in western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio, according to a warning issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Pittsburgh District.
“Due to the well-below-normal precipitation this past spring, the water level at many of the corps of engineers’ Pittsburgh District lakes are below average,” said corps spokeswoman Sheila Tunney.
Water levels are not a problem at Conemaugh Lake, located on the Conemaugh River between Blairsville and Saltsburg, or Loyalhanna Lake near Saltsburg. But the corps is urging caution.
“Most recreational facilities are expected to remain open through the July 4th timeframe,” Tunney said in an email. “Continuation of the current weather patterns paired with regular operations of the district lakes will cause lake levels to continue to steadily fall.”
If the anticipated dry summer continues through July and August, Tunney said, boat launches and recreational facilties may close earlier than usual.
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