JEFFERSON CITY — Following heavy rainfall which caused water levels at the Lake of Ozarks to raise dramatically, on Thursday, Gov. Jay Nixon directed the Missouri Department of Public Safety and the Missouri State Highway Patrol to institute a no-wake policy at the Lake of the Ozarks, effective immediately. It is anticipated that by Saturday, releases from Bagnell Dam will take the lake level below 661 feet so that the order can be lifted.
The order, which covers the entire lake, means boats will need to operate at idle speed because of the increased risk of damage to docks, boats and shoreline from large wakes from boats. Nixon said the current high water level at the Lake of the Ozarks — above full pool — puts people and property at greater risk from boat wakes.
“The timing of these storms and the high water level coincides with one of the busiest weekends of the year, and we know there will be many boats out on the Lake,” Nixon said. “This is already a weekend when there will be an increased presence of the Patrol on the Lake to help protect people who use and enjoy it.
“Responsible boaters are well aware of the damage that large wakes can wreak, and do what they can to minimize that damage. With the current Lake conditions, it is imperative that everyone use idle speeds. We want people to have fun, but to be very aware of wake impact while the Lake is so high.”
The state continues to operate under the State of Emergency issued by the governor last month and Nixon said his office and state emergency officials would continue to monitor water levels. As of Thursday morning, the Lake was above full pool and is expected to crest at 663. Through continued releases from the dam, Ameren is working to get that level below 661.
The storm system that moved through Missouri yesterday and today brought severe weather across the state, including tornadoes, heavy rain and flooding in many locations, including Boone County, Jefferson County and Taney County, among others.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol has assisted in multiple water rescues. There has been at least one fatality reported in Jefferson County, and search efforts continue to look for at least two more individuals.