Boaters Urged to Avoid Giant Intake Vortex on Lake Texoma

Boaters on Lake Texoma are being advised to steer clear of a large intake vortex created when officials decided to lower the water level on the reservoir along the Texas-Oklahoma border.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Tulsa posted the video to their YouTube channel on June 5, and marked the area near the Denison Dam spillway with buoys to help keep boaters away.

The vortex, which fluctuates in size depending on the volume of water being released downstream, has been estimated to be as wide as 8 feet and could pull under a full-sized recreational boat.

"The vortex changes shape and width depending upon flood gate settings and lake elevations. If the gates are fully open it's a larger vortex. The vortex has shrunk considerably because we have adjusted our gate settings from the original video due to changing of flood gate settings. As long as the gates are open there is a vortex of some size," said the USACE Tulsa in a statement to NBC 5.

Vortexes, or whirlpools, are naturally occurring and common when water is moved from one location to another -- much like when water is drained from a sink or bathtub.

The spillway's floodgates are expected to remain open, to some degree, through July, according to a report from The Weather Channel.

The USACE said the vortex is located on the Red River at river mile 725.9, five miles northwest of Denison in Grayson County, Texas.

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