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Keystone Dam to increase water release today

Posted at 5:46 AM, May 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-13 11:47:42-04

The Army Corps of Engineers is about to release a historic amount of water from Keystone Dam today.

Lake levels are the highest they've been since 1995 and officials are calling it an emergency.

The dam is releasing more than 530,000 gallons of water a second trying to control the lake levels.

And that means the already-high Arkansas River is going even higher.

The two lakes that are really concerning officials are Kaw Lake near Ponca City and Keystone Lake near Sand Springs.

Kaw is 35 feet above normal and Keystone is nearly 25 feet above normal.

The Army Corp of Engineers provided sandbags to two areas of the lake and over the weekend, volunteers filled even more, in the hope to stockpile them.

"Because more water is coming out of the spillway at the dam, we are getting ready in case there is an emergency," said Tulsa County Commissioner Karen Keith. "We really don't want a lot of water sitting on the levee for fear of a breach."

But officials say the levee system was built in the 1940s and it's wearing out.

As for the dam, officials say the 85,000 cubic feet per second being released today is the most water coming out of the dam in 26 years.

Obviously with Memorial Day weekend coming up, the possibility of flooding is a major concern for people planning to camp on these lakes and for business owners in the area.

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