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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Table Rock Lake Record Level, Flooding Eclipses 2008, Dam water release

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Table Rock Lake reaches record level, continues rising

Dam water release, flooding has eclipsed 2008 levels



BRANSON, Mo. - A brief break in the rain Tuesday wasn't enough to calm the rising waters of Table Rock Lake and Lake Taneycomo.

Table Rock Dam set a new record for a water release.  Tuesday morning the U.S Army Corps Corps said it was releasing 52,000 cubic feet of water per second.  That amount was increased to 68,000 cfs during the afternoon hours.  The increase was expected to cause Lake Taneycomo downstream to rise an additional 3-4 feet.
The water release was necessary to relieve pressure building up because of high water levels behind the dam.  The previous record (set in 2008) of 933 feet (above sea level) was eclipsed Tuesday.  That's when lake levels reached 933.7 feet.  Officials said the lake could crest near 935 feet sometime late Tuesday or early Wednesday.    The level had surpassed 934.09 feet by 11:30pm Tuesday.

A water level of 935 feet would place the lake within two feet of 'extreme flood emergency' status.  The Corps of Engineers said its auxiliary dam spillway, completed in 2005, was designed to begin releasing water once levels reach 937 feet.  The gates of the auxiliary spillway have never been activated to date.

The Corps told KY3 News it plans to keep the main Table Rock dam floodgates open until water levels drop back to 920 feet.

Evacuations continued Tuesday, though most of those affected had already left their homes on Monday.  Several lakeside homes in Hollister and Branson are already underwater.

Swift currents have swept numerous private docks downstream.  At least one of the structures crashed into a railroad bridge linking Branson and Hollister.  Debris could be seen piled against a pillar.  The bridge's operator, Missouri & Northern Arkansas Railroad, said the structural integrity of the span had not been compromised.  The railroad stated freight train traffic would be operating as normal.  The trestle also carries tourist trains of the Branson Scenic Railway.

On Tuesday afternoon, swift moving current and debris struck a boat fueling dock at the Branson Landing.   Propane and gasoline were released, forcing the evacuation of dozens of people from a nearby parking lot.  There were no reports of injuries.
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