Corps Closes River Road Park
Because of heavy overnight rainfall across the Clearwater Lake drainage basin the Army Corps of Engineers Clearwater Project Office is closing River Road Park.
Park rangers are asking campers to move from River Road Park to Piedmont Park as a precautionary measure because of the possibility of increased releases.
Releases through Clearwater Dam’s conduit were increased this morning to 4,000 cubic feet per second. Spillway releases may increase to as much as 10,000 c.f.s. The largest release ever made from Clearwater was 4,000 c.f.s. in 2011.
This afternoon the lake was at elevation 555.87 with 61 percent of its flood storage capacity being used. Based on the 5 inches of rain that fell during the past 24 hours, the lake is expected to crest at about 571 on May 4, if there is no additional rain.
The dam is operating as it should and continues to hold the flood waters that have been captured behind the dam over the past week, significantly reducing flooding downstream. This is what Clearwater was designed and constructed to do.
Engineers are keeping a watchful eye on weather forecasts. More rain is in the forecast for the next few days. Once the flood storage capacity is filled, the dam will continue to hold the water currently stored in the lake, however, water still entering the lake could flow across the overflow spillway.
At this point the dam is passing inflow and can no longer regulate the river stage downstream. River flows would be as they were in their natural state before the dam was built until the lake level returns below the rim of the overflow spillway.
As Clearwater nears its water storage capacity, people should decide beforehand whether to move livestock, equipment and belongings to higher ground. The closer to the dam you are, the faster river stages can rise. Large releases can occur during heavy rain with no more than an hour or two notice, and rapidly changing conditions could create even shorter notice.
People in at-risk areas should stay in contact with local emergency officials. If larger than normal releases are required from the dam, warnings will go out through local emergency channels. Local officials may not know you require notification unless you have told them so.
Army Corps of Engineers personnel are monitoring lake levels and maintaining 24-hour surveillance, and the dam is sound. Personnel from the Corps’ Clearwater Lake Project Office are staying in contact with state and local officials to coordinate public safety information.
Daily lake information can be obtained at www.swl-wc.usace.army.mil or the Corps’ mobile App which can be found in mobile App stores by searching for USACE Little Rock.