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Corps warns about potential flooding as Keystone Lake rises

Posted at 6:03 PM, May 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-10 23:40:47-04

The Tulsa District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Friday afternoon declared an emergency because of potential flooding.

The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management says Keystone Lake and Kaw Lake are the areas of greatest concern. Releases from Kaw eventually make it downstream to Keystone through the Upper Arkansas River basin.

Kaw Lake was at 86 percent flood pool at 6 p.m. and up to 97 percent by 9 p.m. Keystone Lake had risen to 51 percent of the flood pool by 9 p.m.

The Corps has provided sandbags to two areas since last week.

They've also deployed a pump team to Wagoner and a sandbag machine to Sand Springs.

They tell us they'll be filling sandbags through the weekend to be ready for more requests.

Click here to see real-time Keystone Dam release and lake levels

In 2015, Keystone Lake was 26 feet of its normal stage. On Friday night at 6 p.m., Keystone was 19 feet above normal. In 2015, sandbags were put in place, but flooding was controlled by an orchestrated release of dams.

Still, the Corps says in 2015, water was not having to be released this quickly. Saturday morning-afternoon rains are expected in the Tulsa metro area, and lighter rain is expected up north near Kaw Lake.

'We didn't even do this in 2015," Corps spokesperson Brannen Parrish said. "We didn't even [release this much water] in '15."

At 6 p.m., inflow to Keystone was 125,128 cubic feet per second and the Corps was releasing 72,119 cubic feet per second. You can see the hourly stats for Keystone here.

As water is released from Keystone, it dumps into the Arkansas River.

Authorities in Tulsa searched the Arkansas riverbanks Friday night to identify homeless encampments to ensure people are safe in the event flooding occurs.

City of Tulsa security officers rode in a truck along the levee and stopped at homeless encampments to warn of possible floodwaters. TPD flew overhead providing support with its infrared technology to help identify tents with people inside.

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