This evening we attended a presentation by the Corps of Engineers concerning the current lake flooding situation. As you can imagine the venue was jammed packed and they had to resort to back to back presentations in order to accommodate the crowd. Here are the take away points of the meeting:
1. Due to the unusual amount of rainfall this year and the elevated flood stage of the Osage and Missouri rivers and the high lake levels in Melvern, Pomona, Hillsdale, Stockton and Pomme de Terre lakes, Truman Lake is and will continue be at record high levels.
2. The release of water on Truman is specifically tied to the river flows measured on the Osage at St. Thomas and on the Missouri at Hermann. When the flows slow to a certain amount, water can be released such that it will not increase the flow more than what is allowed by the water management plan that has been in place for decades. The current situation is that the river flows have not subsided, rain continues to fall in watershed areas that contribute to the lakes and tributaries that feed into Truman which causes the water level to increase.
3. Due to these unusual circumstances the Corps of Engineers are predicting that it could take months to reach pool levels. They are acutely aware of the impact of the flood to the area and they are working to the best of their ability to try and mitigate the damage. They have brought in additional personnel to monitor the situation and they have daily meetings with their water management engineers and the National Weather Service to try and fine tune the various flows. Basically, if the rain stops and the flows in the two rivers subside then they can increase the outflow from Truman.
4. The structural integrity of the dam is not in question, it is performing as designed (which includes operating normally under high water conditions) and is perfectly safe.
5. The Corps of Engineers will try and provide some estimates on various predictions as to how much the lake may go down in a day and what level it may be at in a certain time frame.
6. Any prediction is a best guess at most since the variety of factors affecting the equation is so large – they're trying to hit a fast moving target!
What does this mean for us? It could easily be weeks until the lake goes down enough to open the facilities out at the lake. We won't be able to open up until the lake drops far enough to allow repair of any damage to sewage lift stations, electrical connections, and debris clean up. We appreciate all the offers to help clean up and we'll let you know when we're ready for you!
As always, any information we get we will let you all know as soon as possible. Lets all hope and pray that the rains stop for a while!
Ken & Cathy Beyer