Rains in NE Oklahoma Prompt Illinois River Warning

May 24, 2013

Oklahoma's Scenic Rivers Commission is warning holiday travelers not to swim or canoe the Illinois River after a week of heavy rainfall in northeast Oklahoma.

Commission member Ed Fite warns campers that river levels are high and the water is moving twice as fast as usual.

Fite told television station KTUL it's too dangerous to swim, tube or canoe over the Memorial Day weekend.

The commission also says fallen trees and debris — along with the fast-moving currents — are the main concerns.

Fite says there have been four near-drownings on the Illinois River this year.

The National Weather Service in Tulsa reported Friday morning that the Illinois River near Tahlequah is at 7.7 feet. Flood stage is 11 feet.