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Pensacola Dam roars as Grand Lake reaches near max flood capacity

Posted at 6:24 PM, Jun 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-24 21:39:03-04

LANGLEY, Okla. — Floodwater from the weekend storms is building up at one of Oklahoma’s most popular lakes.

It's a sight to see, Grand Lake teetering near 755 feet above sea level. People who live below the dam know the danger, too, as more flooding hits close to home.

Pensacola Dam is roaring once again.

"This lake came up 2 feet overnight, and just when we thought it was getting down where it might be manageable again… so we gotta roll with the punches man," Grand Lake homeowner Rusty Fleming said.

Floodwaters are keeping lake levels incredibly high.

‘We came down from Wichita… very interesting flooding situation up here," lake visitor Keith Smith said.

Floodwaters rushing downstream out of the Pensacola Dam at the direction of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

"We're making the gate operations that they direct us to make,” Grand River Dam Authority spokesperson Justin Alberty said. “And we're trying to – as I said, trying to – get it down as safely and quickly as we possibly can being mindful of all the conditions that you have to understand in a situation like this.”

High water has plagued this year's boating season, but Grand Lakers are no stranger to this.

“When something like this happens, this would not be the first Fourth of July that we've had high water,” Fleming said. “There was one maybe 8-10 years ago, and you know what? We survived and we will again.”

Although emergency notifications were sent early this morning to those who live downstream long the Grand River, officials say the water coming from the spillway gates and flood control gates has gone down. Sometime this morning, the release went from about 145,000 cubic feet per second to 108,000 cfs.

However, they ask people to remain vigilant.

"That's a fairly significant release of water, obviously, for this flooding event," Alberty said. "But it's certainly helping us to maintain where we are now... Grand Lake is just about at max flood capacity."

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