Thursday, May 25, 2017

Memorial Weekend 2017 Finds the Lake Still in Cleanup Mode

Since the Summer of 2017 begins in earnest this weekend, I thought we might take a look at lake conditions beforehand and get a little early jump on this month's chart.

Believe it or not, lake level and flow rates are still under the influence of the torrential rains at the end of April.  Let's take a look at Truman Lake first to see why we are still where we are with flow rates.

Ten Year Graph of Truman Lake Levels

Truman Lake is controlled by the Corps of Engineers while Lake of the Ozarks is not, but there is a Memorandum of Agreement which says Ameren must coordinate operations with the CoE, especially during flood events.  As we can see above Truman Lake reached its highest level in the last 10 years at the end of April, while Lake of the Ozarks barely exceeded 661ft, and only briefly at that. Between the two lakes, Truman did its job protecting the Lake of the Ozarks from a *major* flood event that would have surpassed 2015s (both of them). But with the rains subsiding this month, Ameren has kept flow rates through Bagnell Dam well above average in an attempt to lower Truman Lake.  It's a very slow process and will likely continue through the first holiday weekend.  With that in mind, let's take a look at May's levels and flow rates.

May of course started with the lake at it highest levels for the year, and likely the highest for the entire year.  Discharge from Bagnell Dam remains above full turbine flow which means flood gates are still partially open sustaining nearly 50,000cfs.  For Memorial weekend, lake levels are just slightly below the 5 year average, but doable for those of us in shallow waters. As for all that water that's passed through Bagnell Dam? We'll examine just how much water in the regular end of the month report when the final data comes in.

For now just be advised that the lake is (relatively) murky and full of debris coming down from Truman.  Running your boat will be a little more risky this weekend as debris is everywhere.  As for night running, I will definitely be adopting a cocktail cruise speed.  On plane even at legal speed will be very risky to your outdrives.

Be safe. Have fun.