TATE COUNTY, MS (abc24.com) - This weekend may mark the unofficial start to summer, but those looking to start traditional summer activities are out of luck in Mississippi.
Arkabutla Lake is so low they're closing boat ramps and urging people not to swim or go out on the lake.
Memorial Day is normally the most popular weekend at the lake on the Tate/Desoto County line. Crowds pack the beaches and boats fill the water, but this weekend there's not much water to fill.
"This is our biggest weekend of the holiday season," says Ernie Lentz with the Army Corps of Engineers.
You'd never know it to look at Arkabutla Lake today. Ground is exposed and grass grows where water should be.
"This is the lowest it's been at this time of the year," Lentz tells abc24.com, blaming it on a significant lack of rain.
He says the area is 10 inches below average rainfall. The lake is more than 10 feet lower than it should be and Lentz is telling boaters to beware.
"Skiers, personal watercraft, we're encouraging them to stay off the lake for their safety."
Swimmers can't go in either because "we don't have any water on the beaches. They're all closed for safety purposes."
The beaches haven't been open in years, since 2007.
This time last year they were flooded with way too much water. This year, there's not nearly enough.
"There's a big difference between last year and this year," says Jimmy Roberts. He isn't letting the drought stop him from camping.
"I sit here, tell a bunch of lies, cook out, and take it easy."
Lentz still expects the same from those not into water sports.
"Camping wise we should be okay," he says.
But it's bad news for those looking to the lake for relief from the heat. Last Memorial Day weekend, the park's numbers were down by 16,000.
Lentz is hoping they won't see that big a drop this year.
"Visitation drives a lot of what we do, so if we don't have the visitors, there's questions about do we need to be doing some of the things we're doing."
Lentz says a two inch rainfall could raise the lake level by six feet, but they're entering the yearly dry season. He expects the lake to stay low all summer.