Water Pouring Out Of Eufaula Dam Most In 25 Years

Tuesday, May 12th 2015, 7:46 pm
By: Tess Maune

The heavy rain has many Green Country lakes and rivers pushing past their banks.

The Corps of Engineers has the difficult task of keeping that water from flooding homes and businesses above and below the dams.

Out at Eufaula Lake flood control has turned into a roadside attraction.

It's hard to imagine when you see all of the water pouring out of Eufaula Dam that it's not coming out at full force, still, the Corps of Engineers said it has not released this much water from Eufaula in 25 years.

5/11/2015 Related Story: Weekend Rains Overflow Eastern Oklahoma Lakes, Rivers

The roar of water is all you can really hear down around Eufaula Dam.

The release is meant to help with flood control, but for the locals, it's also show they have to see; and for folks like Guy Funkhouser, it's also a good excuse to go fishing.

“Yeah, it's pretty nice,” he said. “Because of the flood water they get up in these eddies, and see all that black stuff up there, that's shad, that's what fish is here after, that's bait.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said it's letting out 48,000 cubic feet of water per second - the most since 1990, according to Sara Goodeyon.

“It would be something like if you could imagine a football field going by every one second, that's the amount water,” Goodeyon said.

She said all the rain that hit Oklahoma City met up with the heavy rain that fell into Eufaula's watershed, pushing the lake up 12 feet before the gates opened Tuesday.

Goodeyon said releasing water any sooner could have wiped out entire towns downstream due to heavy rain that fell down that way.

“It is a balancing act and we're working 24/7 and we train for this year around,” she said.

Tulsa District Corps office is monitoring 38 lakes and five locks and dams on the Arkansas River to help prevent flooding.

Down from the dam, Mark and Myrtle Purdom kept an eye on things, too.

“I was just looking to see where the water is over there and up the river,” Mark said.

The couple can see the Canadian river from their front yard. Myrtle said she's live there her whole life and said the water's never been up as high.

They're not too worried about flooding, although they say their niece, who lives a little closer to the river, felt differently when she heard evacuations were possible.

“She was very nervous, bless her heart, scared her to death,” said Myrtle.

The Corps is not sure how long it'll be releasing water from Eufaula Dam.

At this point it's really a wait-and-see game, all dependent on how much rain we get over the next several days.

The Corps says despite the high water, the lake and campgrounds are open.