Chris Allen’s home on Lake Arlington is an oasis in the middle of the Metroplex.
“It’s a great retreat,” Allen said. “You can sit out on the deck, have a beer and watch the boats go by.”
For the moment, however — after a month of rain overfilled the lake — his tranquility has been disrupted.
When the water receded last weekend, several of the railroad ties in his retaining wall had washed away and some of the wooden support beams underneath his deck were dangling in the air.
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Just across a cove, another lake resident’s dock has crumbled as if it were hit with a giant sledgehammer.
“This is all by surprise,” said Allen, who was trying to determine how much of his big repair bill will be covered by flood insurance or his homeowner’s policy. “I knew we were going to have to replace it at some point but suddenly that time is now.”
As the second-wettest May in North Texas history gives way to a dry and getting-hotter-by-the-day June, Allen is just one of many lake residents who are discovering the damage that came with the heavy rains and flooding.
While he has been able to assess his property, once the high water recedes on other area lakes, the damage will multiply, not only to private lake houses, but to public roads and park facilities.
Electrical issues on docks
Troy Hamrick, owner of Docks on Demand in Benbrook, said the calls are coming from all over North Texas. Older docks are having problems with the rising lake levels and with debris getting stuck underneath.
“I think as the water comes down, some of these docks are going to get stuck,” Hamrick said.
Other issues should become more clear in the coming days.
“The biggest problem we're going to have is electrical issues,” Hamrick said. “At a bare minimum, we’re going to have to clean out the junction boxes. If they were under water, they’re going to be full of mud. Any fixture that was submerged will have to replaced.”
Bob Hoop, owner of B&G Welding in Weatherford, is waiting for the water to drop to see the impact around Lake Worth. He already knows some docks have been damaged or washed away along the Brazos River near Tin Top and Horseshoe Bend. He said many of the older docks around Lake Worth will also have issues.
“I'm sure there will be a lot of loose decking,” Hoop said. “All of the motors and electronic switches will have to replaced if they went underwater. For some of the older wood docks around Lake Worth, the waves will just rip off wood planks.”
‘It will take time’
At U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reservoirs that are holding flood waters, it might be months before lake levels return to normal.
Around Lake Grapevine, crews will have to survey parks, boat ramps and other facilities to see whether the flooding has caused any damage, said Clay Church, a spokesman for the Corps Fort Worth District.
“Some parks may not even open this summer,” Church said. “Where they are located, how much water they had and how long that water stays could all play a role in how much damage they had.”
The high water has also impacted businesses around the lake.
Pier 121 Marina on Lake Grapevine, which includes a restaurant, fuel dock and convenience store is still working to get back to normal. The restaurant was open but it was still difficult to get out on the lake.
“I think it will take time,” said Ronnie Stamford, an office manager. “We’re working on it but it may take two or three weeks to get all the way back to normal.”
The Rockin’ S Bar and Grill, also on Grapevine Lake, posted last week on its Facebook page that it was “hoping all this water will go down soon so that we can reopen!”
But the lake’s levels will take time to get back to normal, Church said.
On Sunday, Grapevine was still more than 25 feet above capacity.
It was a similar story at Joe Pool Lake, where high water shut down the popular Oasis on Joe Pool.
Some popular lakeside eateries are operating.
Despite the record-breaking levels earlier this week at Lewisville Lake, Sneaky Pete’s was open. Last week, the restaurant posted a video on its Facebook Page of two customers taking a boat through floodwaters to reach the restaurant’s deck that sat a few feet above the encroaching lake.
‘Tons of debris everywhere’
But the high lake levels forced Augie’s to close its fishing dock.
“We’ve still been busy as we can be despite the high water,” said Denny Steward of Augie’s. “You just can’t get out on the lake.”
How long before boaters will be allowed to return to Bridgeport and Eagle Mountain remains to be seen. Both were closed this weekend and it could be later this week before they are reopened for recreational use.
The Tarrant Regional Water District knows there will be issues as the water drops at Eagle Mountain and Lake Bridgeport.
“There will be tons of debris everywhere,” said David Marshall, director of engineering and operations support. “There are rafts of floating debris moving around the lake.”
Fort Worth surgeon Tom Ellis has seen it firsthand at his home on the Azle side of Eagle Mountain.
At his weekend home, piles of debris started piling up along in the cove in Mid-May. It includes some trash but most of the debris consists of dead tree limbs that have been washed downstream.
As the lake got higher, some debris disappeared but Ellis expects plenty will re-emerge.
“It clogged up three or four docks on either side of us,” Ellis said. “There were just islands of flotsam piling up on any structure they could find and that was before the water really started going up. There’s going to be a huge cleanup.”
Bill Hanna, 817-390-7698