Snow damages docks at Lake of the Ozarks

Saturday, February 5, 2011 | 4:24 p.m. CST; updated 7:25 p.m. CST, Wednesday, February 23, 2011

JEFFERSON CITY — Snow piled high on docks at the Lake of the Ozarks has taken a toll on piers at the central Missouri tourist attraction.

Officials said the weight of the snow collapsed two major docks at the lake, and others were either damaged or sinking. The Jefferson City News Tribune reported that work crews were clearing snow from the roofs of covered docks to reduce the weight.

"Some of these docks are in danger of going under," said Don Herzing, owner of Herzing Roofing. "In some cases, it's only the boats that are holding them up. We're clearing 2 to 3 feet of snow — in some cases drifts up to 4 feet — from the roofs."

A severe winter storm blew through Missouri Tuesday and Wednesday, blanketing central Missouri with more than a foot of snow and buffeting the state with heavy winds. Residents and officials have spent the last several days plowing city streets and highways and digging out homes and cars.

At the Lake of the Ozarks, a popular lake about an hour southwest of Jefferson City, recovering from the storm also has meant cleaning up the docks to which boats are moored. The Lake of the Ozarks is formed by a dam owned by St. Louis-based utility Ameren Corp.

Jeff Green, the shoreline supervisor for Ameren Missouri, said there were reports of damage at commercial docks, such as at a condominium and yacht club. However, he said the snow storm was less destructive than ice storms in 2006. Green said the damage this year largely has come from drifting snow that has made the docks heavier.

"That can be the kiss of death for getting a dock out of balance," Green said.

Officials said low water levels at the Lake of the Ozarks have made the problem worse because in some cases one end of the dock is running into the ground, and that causes the other side of the dock to thrust out of the water. When that happens, boats can slide off their moorings.

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