Flooding impacts lake businesses, boating plans

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LAKE OF THE OZARKS - Flooding and high water levels have kept many boaters ashore for Independence Day weekend. 

Columbia resident and boat owner Mark Grohs is spending the weekend at the lake. He said the risk of hitting logs or other floating debris is keeping him on shore.  

"When lakes rise really fast, or lower really fast, a lot of the debris that's on the shore comes out into the lake," Grohs said.

Hitting that kind of debris, some of which can be partially or totally submerged, can damage a vessel and even be dangerous for the boaters themselves.

"You're taking a big risk of doing a lot of damage to props, to undercarriages, where you can't see. So it's really not worth it," Grohs said.

Grohs said a day or two off the water isn't a big a deal to him. He said he takes that time to maintain his boat and enjoy the attractions along the lake shore.

"Sometimes a day off the water is a welcome sight," Grohs said.

Some of our viewers talked about lake conditions on KOMU 8's Facebook page.

Dana Sargent commented that will all of the floating debris this weekend, "you couldn't pay me to put my boat on the water this weekend."

Kristie Hook said, "We were there - Warsaw end - on Wednesday night and just bailed back to Columbia. Water was so high that the docks at our resort were under water, and the boat launch was a few feet under. Couldn't have launched even if we were ok with idle speed."

Many boaters were sitting on the docks or in their boats. Other lake goers, Grohs said, such as fishermen and canoers, don't seem to be having much trouble navigating the high waters. 

Dale Law, who works as the business director for MarineMax, a boat dealership and private dock in Lake Ozark, said, "We haven't seen a lot of hindrance with people not being able to go down on the lake."

Grohs and Law both said the on-shore businesses like restaurants, bars, go-cart racing, and even golfing , are doing well due to the amount of foot traffic during the flooding.

At his favorite restaurant at the lakes, Grohs said, "the docks were completely full and people were continually coming in."

Law said, "On the land, go-carts and those kind of things, golfing, shopping -- those places are probably pretty busy today, and the lake's probably going to be busy tomorrow."

Ameren officials said the lake's water level could be back to normal by Friday evening.