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Man dies in Grapevine Lake, which is 16 feet above normal Memorial Day weekend levels

With lake levels 16 feet higher than they should be, safety is a growing concern.

GRAPEVINE, Texas — A man drowned Sunday in Grapevine Lake, where he was visiting a park with his family. 

With lake levels 16 feet higher than they should be, safety is a growing concern, authorities say. 

"It's not like a pool," said Grapevine Fire Chief Darrell Brown. "Once you go underwater, you can't see."

On Sunday, the man, who has not been publicly identified, and his family visited Rockledge Park, the only park at the lake that was partially open. 

The man slipped under the water. He wasn't wearing a lifejacket, Brown said. 

"Very distraught family, as you can only imagine," Brown said.

Now, all of Grapevine's city boat ramps and lake parks, including Rockledge, are closed until further notice.

"People want to come to the lake, it's Memorial Day Weekend, we understand," Brown said. "But unfortunately, after the event yesterday ... let's not take the chances, let's go ahead and close all city parks."

The fire department took WFAA out on their boat Monday to show first-hand some of the safety issues they're dealing with.

"We've got park benches, park tables and even some of the canopies that are underwater," said Capt. Jamey Shipler.

Shipler explained how with everything submerged, boats are at risk. He also says swimmers might not know the shallow ground underneath them is actually a rock cliff.

"It drops off to 15 or 20 [feet], you just can't see it," he said.

The chief said last year six people died from drowning in Lake Grapevine. He says no matter the conditions, wearing a life jacket should be a summer lake priority.

One part of the lake where Memorial Day plans were relatively unaffected was at Big Daddy's Ship Store, a floating restaurant at the marina in Oak Grove Park.  While the high water level has flooded their parking lot and shut down one access road to their location, a makeshift bridge let families make their way out to the floating dock for burgers, beer and live music.

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"Everyone's made-do this holiday weekend.  It's actually been a really good weekend for us," said Matthew Armond, owner of the restaurant.  "Probably not as good as a normal season, but still really good."

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