Massive Drain Creates Giant Vortex in Lake Texoma in Oklahoma

It was so large it could potentially swallow a boat.

June 25, 2015, 4:48 PM

— -- The whirlpool from “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” has nothing on this one.

A six to eight foot-diameter vortex was caught on camera at Lake Texoma in Oklahoma as officials opened up the Denison Dam to drain the overflowing lake, an official said.

“I always compare it to when you fill up your bathtub and then pull the plug. When the water level gets low enough, you’ll see an apparent vortex,” assistant project manager at Lake Texoma BJ Parkey told ABC News today.

“Obviously we don’t have a plug like that in the dam, but the concept is the same,” he added.

The intake vortex is large enough to swallow a boat, depending on its size. Luckily, the lake restricts boaters from entering the vortex area by posting warning signs and placing a buoy line around the intake structure.

“The vortex will always vary in size based on how much water is being released. Sometimes it’ll be so small you don’t even see it,” Parkey said.

The water flow creates a cyclone in a tornado shape, with the opening wider at the top and narrower as it goes down.

Lake Texoma officials decided to drain the lake since it was in flooding condition from four weeks of heavy rain. The lake sits on the Oklahoma and Texas border and is created by the Denison Dam that spans three miles in length.

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