Corps Of Engineers Activates Emergency Operations Center Following Heavy Rains
KEYSTONE LAKE, Oklahoma - Several lakes in Oklahoma are experiencing flooding right now.
The Army Corps of Engineers activated their emergency operations center to monitor water levels and dam releases.
Right now 120,000 cubic feet per second of water is flowing into Keystone Lake causing it to be 18 feet above normal, but the dam is releasing enough water to keep the flood risk low.
Keystone Dam is releasing 71,000 cubic feet per second of water. They say that’s like 71,000 basketballs moving into the River per second.
The dams are in place to reduce flooding.
“We’ve got a lot of water coming through, a lot of water in the system, we are trying to hold water where we can. Basically we are trying to hold water upstream so we can protect lives and property downstream," said Brannen Parrish, Army Corps of Engineers.
The Corps uses stream gauges above and below the dam to monitor the amount of water on the ground. That helps them determine how much water to release at the dam.
“This is a little over half, more than half of what is coming into the lake right now so what we are trying to do is offset that In flow as much as possible and try not to overwhelm the downstream channel," Parrish said.
Parrish tells me the dam is doing exactly what it is supposed to do, but that can create dangers above and below the dam.
“What we ask is that people don’t go swimming downstream of a dam that is releasing water. It’s just not a good idea. There’s a current going, and it doesn’t take much to get you swept off your feet," he said.
The high water levels at Keystone Lake have closed a lot of campgrounds like here at Appalachia Bay. Park benches, tables, signs and trees are under water, which can be dangerous for boaters, too.
The Corps encourages people to stay out of the water right now.
“If we can just get through without some rain for a little while hopefully we can make a better dent and hopefully we can increase releases enough to offset those in flows," said Brannen Parrish, Army Corps Of Engineers.
Right now, Appalachia Bay, Cimarron Bend, Cowskin Bay North, Cowskin Bay South, and Keystone Ramp are all closed. Some campsites and Ramps at Walnut Creek and Washington Irving South are also closed.