Wappapello Lake deals with record levels - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Wappapello Lake deals with record levels

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Spring 2011 has produced large amounts of rainfall through southeastern Missouri.  The St. Francis River basin is no exception.

On Sunday, April 24 and Monday, April 25, 2011, Wappapello Lake experienced near-record inflows approaching 88,000 cubic feet per second. The maximum discharge from the dam is 10,000 cfs, and the lake's elevation is at its second highest in history.

With an expected crest of more than two feet over the emergency spillway expected, the St. Louis District team developed and enacted a plan to protect Missouri Highway T and other utility and communication infrastructure behind the spillway.

In less than 24 hours, a rock dike is built to an elevation of 397.3. Nearly 12,000 tons of rock was trucked in while hundreds of local volunteers and Corps personnel worked side by side to fill and place sandbags to protect the construction effort. The dike's function is to keep the maximum discharge moving through the dam's gates.

Current Status

Missouri Highway T remains closed at Wappapello Dam in coordination with the Missouri Department of Transportation as a safety precaution. An alternate route on Iron Bridge Road has been identified.

Based on the forecasts for this weekend, if significant rainfall occurs, the temporary dike will be overtopped and the overflow spillway will perform as designed. Water over the spillway poses no risk to the dam structure, but downstream residents can expect increased flows, which could be compounded by localized flooding.

The Corps of Engineers has a downstream early warning plan to provide accurate and updated information to people living below Wappapello Lake.

The Corps has held daily conferences with agencies, County Official, community leaders, and stakeholders to provide the latest information about flood conditions, and has provided regular updates through local media, telephone and internet resources. 

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