Crowds smaller at area lakes during unofficial start of summer

It was a little too cloudy and too windy to really feel like summer on Saturday. But the start of the Memorial Day weekend still brought some folks out to area lakes, despite spotty weather that's expected to linger.

Pam Hutchinson of Cumming said daughter, Holly, 12, and her 11-year-old son, James, volunteered to do chores around the house if it meant getting to Lake Lanier faster. The family usually gets a season pass to the water park, and this summer will be no different.

"We finished our housework and came," Hutchinson said, as Holly competed in a hula hoop contest. "They've had a great time."

The forecast for the rest of the holiday weekend doesn't get much better for those wanting sunny skies. There is a 60 percent chance of thunderstorms Sunday, with a high temperature expected to be 76, according to meteorologist Jessica Fieux with the National Weather Service.

On Monday, there is a 50 percent chance of storms, with a high of 77. Rain showers are expected to linger most of the week, Fieux said.

All the recent rain means there's plenty of water for everyone. Lake Lanier is a little more than five feet below full pool — nearly eight feet higher than this time last year.

The Backus family of Marietta had so much fun last Memorial Day weekend, they decided to return to Lake Lanier this year. The family said the crowds were much smaller this year, but they weren't complaining.

"We're loving it," said Sean Backus, as his wife Beth got a temporary tattoo painted on her ankle. Daughters Kathryn, 9, and 6-year-old Emily showed off their new tattoos, then headed back into the chilly water at the wave pool.

"It doesn't bother them," Beth Backus said of the water. The family planned to stay overnight and return to the water park Sunday. For the kids, it's as good as a trip somewhere tropical.

"There's a beach, it's close enough," Beth Backus said.

In Acworth, Rich Boden and his 9-year-old son Brayton were eager to try out their new red canoe and do some fishing in Lake Allatoona, which is at full pool.

"The weather's got some people frightened off," Rich Boden said as he got the fishing lines ready. Brayton, with his life preserver on, sat down in the boat as his dad climbed into the rear seat.

"Bon voyage," Rich Boden said. "He's got a paddle, but I have a feeling I'll be doing most of the work."