Oologah Lake Spillway Creates Picturesque Scene

Friday, June 5th 2015, 5:19 pm
By: Richard Clark

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has opened the gates at the spillway on Oologah Lake, creating a picturesque and rare sight.

During the record rainfall of May 2015, the Corps used Oologah Lake for its primary purpose, flood control. Now that the rains have ended, the Corps has opened the gates at both the dam and spillway to get the lake's level back down to normal.

5/28/2015: Related Story: Oklahoma's Dams Built To Prevent Even Worse Flooding

As of Friday, June 5, 2015, the lake was 20 feet above normal. Both gates in the dam were open, as were all seven gates on the spillway, releasing 18,244 cubic feet of water per second.

The lake's level peaked at 659 feet, 21 feet above normal, on June 3. 

The Corps opens and closes the gates in the dam routinely to make small changes in the lake's level. Opening the gates in the spillway is much more drastic, creating rapids in what would ordinarily be pasture as the water heads downstream to join the Verdigris River below the dam.

Video from Osage SkyNews 6 HD showed the water jetting out of the spillway and rushing across the ground.

Check the lake levels here.

The lake was built in the 1960s, but the first time the Corps opened the spillway wasn't until the record-setting flooding of October 1986.