Keystone Lake Still Rising; Corps Increases Dam Outflow

Thursday, May 28th 2015, 2:19 pm
By: Tess Maune

Keystone Lake is nearly 29 feet above normal and the Corps of Engineers is releasing even more water from the dam, but the water is still rising.

The Corps said it had to open the gates more Thursday morning due to rain that fell upstream a few days ago. It's still far from releasing its maximum capacity, so while it won't make a huge difference instantly, it should help greatly in the long run.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers started letting out 9,000 cubic feet of water per second around 8 a.m. Around 11 a.m., the dam began releasing 30,000 cfs, which is more than 224,000 gallons of water each second.

It's a scene that has sightseers, like Doris Mosier, lining up even if they've seen it before.

“He said, 'would you mind if we went out here?' And it's exciting,” Moser said.

Bobbi and Jerrold Dubbs keep an extra close eye on the rushing water because their house sits about 200 yards off the Arkansas River below the dam in Sand Springs.

Jerrold: “We like to come here and...
Bobbi: And look. We can see that out our back door.
Jerrold: We know what it's capable of doing, there's always a possibility.

The Corps of Engineers said Tulsa County residents downstream shouldn't be too concerned about flooding at this point.

The plan, the agency said, is to keep releasing water at its current pace for several days.

5/26/2015 Related Story: Corps Of Engineers Keeping 'Round The Clock Watch On Dams, Lakes

Still, more water is coming into the lake than being let out, which is why the lake continues to rise - inching closer to the base of bridges, turning the city park into a temporary water park and parking lots into playgrounds for fish.

The lake isn't as high as it was eight years ago when it was 32 feet above normal. It would have to come up three-and-a-half more feet to match that flood.

Salt Creek Cove Marine Services Owner, Troy Furr hopes that doesn't happen, but if it does, it won't slow down his lakefront business.

"We're still working right here,” he said.

The Corps projects the lake will come up one to two more feet before it stops rising.

A lot of folks have been concerned there could be a repeat of the devastating 1986 floods, but the Corps said the big difference is that in 1986 17 inches of rain fell in three days.

5/27/2015 Related Story: Keystone Lake Continues To Rise, Residents Prepare For Worst

Then, water came in so quickly the Corps said it put pressure on the dam, so it had no choice but to start releasing massive amounts of water.

At that time, the dam was letting out 2 million more gallons of water each second than what it is releasing no.