Heavy rains causing flooding in parts of lake area

Ameren generating what is necessary at Bagnell Dam

Joyce L. Miller
Lake Sun, USA TODAY NETWORK
Watch out for flooded roads this week with an increase in rain accumulation around the Lake area.

In an effort to mitigate downstream flooding, Truman Dam has ceased generation at their power plant while Ameren Missouri has cut generation at Lake of the Ozarks.

Depending on the location, as of Monday morning, the lake area had received about 2.5 inches of rain in the previous 48 hours compounded by another 3 to 4 inches in the 72 hours prior to those measurements, according to the National Weather Service in Springfield.

The change in generation at Truman and Bagnell Dam on Lake of the Ozarks is an effort to decrease the water flowing downstream on the Osage River to the Missouri River. The Missouri River continues to rise.

Working in conjunction with the U.S. Corps of Engineers, Truman stopped generation to hold water back from Lake of the Ozarks. Ameren Missouri will only be generating what is necessary to release water that flows in from tributaries and run-off caused by the rain.

Chances of rain are in the forecast through the week before clearing skies on Friday, just in time for the Fourth of July weekend. The weekend forecast is currently showing sunny skies with highs in the 80s.

The level at Lake of the Ozarks was at 658.9 feet above sea level. Full pool is 660. Ameren plans to maintain the current lake level at 659 for the time being. Once the rain stops and the Missouri River starts to recede, Ameren will work with the Corps of Engineers to increase discharge to lower the lake level at Truman Lake.

Ameren spokesman Brad Borwon said lake levels have held close to the 659 mark this month while generation continues to support customers.

“We anticipate staying around this level until mid-September when, according to our guide curve, the lake goes to the 658' mark for several months. Part of our daily operation is to watch levels on the Osage and Missouri Rivers,” Brown said. “Those levels have fluctuated in recent days due to the heavy rainfall. Working with the Army Corps of Engineers, we're matching lake inflows so Osage Energy Center outflows do not contribute more water downstream on the Missouri River and potentially make the situation worse over the next few days. As always, we'll continue to stay closely coordinated with the Corps as they manage the water level at Harry S. Truman Reservoir.”

Boaters should be aware that heavy rain can wash debris into the lake, causing a hazard. Boaters should keep an eye on for limbs and other and debris to avoid an accident.

Although the rain has caused localized flooding, the Camden County Road and Bridge department is reporting few problems so far. What happens the rest of the week could be a different story depending on rainfall amounts.

No roads are closed but the department did have to clear a few fallen trees from over the weekend.

Late last week, the Missouri Department of Public Safety issued a warning to drivers and boaters warning of the dangers of flooding.

Motorists and boaters are asked to flood the recommendations from DPS:

Drivers

Drivers are urged to avoid attempting to cross a flooded low water crossing simply because they were able to do so in the past. Don’t be tempted to drive into floodwater because it appears shallow. Looks are deceiving and the roadway may not be intact. Floodwater often washes out roads or compromises their structural integrity.

Did you know less than a foot of moving water is enough to push a vehicle? Cars will float when the force of the water is greater than the force of friction. Flash flooding brings sand and mud, which reduces the friction force of gravity holding the vehicle in place. Think about everything you could lose before trying to save a few minutes by not turning around.

Barricades closing a roadway are there to protect you. Drivers must respect barriers or barricades put in place by MoDOT — it is extremely dangerous and a violation of state law to drive around them. For information regarding road closures consult the Missouri Department of Transportation’s “MoDOT traveler” app or visit MoDOT’s road condition map at the Missouri State Highway Patrol’s website www.statepatrol.dps.mo.gov. (Select the “Road Conditions” box.)

Road conditions can change often with flash floods or heavy rains. The map is updated regularly, but it is not possible to predict future road closings or water levels of specific rivers, lakes, or streams. Drivers are encouraged to check for updates often when planning their route and just prior to traveling.

Boaters

Flooding also affects safety on Missouri's waterways. The Patrol asks boaters across the state to take extra precautions when boating in flooded areas. Large amounts of rainfall cause rivers and lakes to become swollen. Many times, the right decision is to stay off the water. In areas where lakes or rivers spill over the banks, erosion and damage can occur to flooded structures, docks, or water laden levees by boat wakes. Boaters should avoid operating in these areas. If operation in these areas is necessary, boaters should operate at idle speed to avoid causing a wake.

Flooded rivers and streams with moving currents present some of the most dangerous situations a boater can encounter. Fast moving water can easily capsize or flip a boat—or personal watercraft—especially when combined with fixed objects such as trees and buildings. Boaters should avoid any operations in these swift flowing waters.