High water quenches fireworks fun

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Organizers say show will be rescheduled

By Ashley Scoby

The Fourth of July fireworks show originally planned for last Saturday is now in jeopardy after Taylorsville Lake swelled to 17 feet above normal summer levels this weekend.

The event was postponed after both the parking lot of the boat dock as well as the marina were at least partially underwater, according to John Shircliffe of the Friends of Taylorsville Lake State Park group, which was hosting the show.
Boats were also being evacuated from the lake Saturday because the water was rising at such a fast pace.
The Army Corps of Engineers is currently working to drain the lake, but is limited in terms of how much work it can do each day. Nine hundred thirty cubic feet of water per second was being drained Sunday, with that rate increasing to about 1,800 cubic feet per second Monday.
Those rates can lead to about a half-foot to one-foot daily decrease in the actual water level. According to Lisa Freeman of the Corps, a total decrease of one foot will probably be the maximum progress per day.
Several factors play into how quickly the Corps is able to drain the floodwaters, Freeman said. More leeway to drain water is usually given during the winter, since there are no crops in the surrounding fields. Since it’s summer, however, farmers’ crops have to be taken into consideration.
Furthermore, if there are high water levels downstream, the Corps also has to be careful about releasing water that can further flood those areas. More rainwater will also hinder the process. According to weather.com, there is a 30 percent chance of rain in the Taylorsville area for Wednesday and a 60 percent chance for Thursday.
“At the very least it’s going to take 17 days if it’s 17 feet over,” Freeman said in a phone interview. “But I don’t think we’re going to be able to drop it out that fast. It might be more like half a foot of water each day.”
According to Shircliffe, the current plan is to reschedule the fireworks show once the water gets to an acceptable level, hopefully within two weeks of the event’s original July 6 date.
“We’re going to have to keep that tentative,” he said. “We don’t want to make any definite plans.”
The sponsors of the fireworks show – Spencer County Tourism, Edgewater Resort and Taylorsville Lake Marina – have invested $3,000 in materials for the show, according to Shircliffe. Those groups had no choice but to postpone the Saturday show, however.
“Our primary purpose is flood control,” Freeman said. “We called out to the state park Saturday and just gave them the conditions and said, ‘Here’s how far we think the water is going to get,’ after some of our hydrology folks did their predictions.”
The groups in charge of the fireworks show, as well as the employees at the state park, had to take that information into consideration and make the decision they thought best for citizens’ safety.
“It just had to be done,” Shircliffe said. “We are so sorry.”