Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Rains, flood postpone Central Open
David Hunter Jones
Water streams from the floodgates of Table Rock Lake dam Monday afternoon.
Continued heavy rainfall in the Table Rock Lake region has forced the postponement of the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Central Open until this fall. The event most likely will be rescheduled for this October.
Capt. Gary Haupt with the Water Patrol Division of the Missouri State Highway Patrol said that all events on Table Rock Lake have been cancelled through Sunday, May 1. The Marine Patrol cited public safety and property damage concerns as the main reasons for revoking the permits that are needed to hold tournaments on the lake.
"There's an advisory out for boaters on Table Rock and Lake Taneycomo this weekend because of the historic water levels we're experiencing, and in turn, the historic water releases," Haupt said. "There's a greater possibility of both property and personal damage with conditions like this. Our decision to revoke the permit wasn't a selective thing, we've cancelled all events on the lake this weekend."
Haupt went on to say that as southwest Missouri endures more showers the lake continues to rise. Table Rock is fast approaching its historic high-water mark of 933.
"It's still pretty dicey as they try to catch the crest of the lake," Haupt said, referring to the dam operators trying to harness the flow from the dam.
Tournament Director Chris Bowes, who worked furiously Monday to move the weigh-in to higher ground before storms hammered the area again Monday, agrees with the decision.
"It's the right thing to do given the situation," he said. "There is a greater risk of damage to both property and personnel with all the debris in the water."
Anglers will be contacted by B.A.S.S. in the upcoming weeks with details regarding the rescheduling, as well as a refund process.
High water had closed several roadways in the area, and on Monday the road that runs across Table Rock dam, U.S. 165, was closed after part of the shoulder was washed away.
Crews are working on a temporary fix, hoping to reopen the road in several days with plans for a new permanent road set for mid-June. Some surface dirt washed off of the dam, but the dam's core is still sound.
The city of Branson, a tourist mecca that dubs itself "The Live Music Show Capital of the World," reports that it is open for business, as the flooding has not affected its higher elevation.