Spring River has crested and the Neosho River is on its way down as well, according to the National Weather Service. The receding of water currently parked outside of Grand River Dam Authority easements, however, may be slow-going as engineers attempt to avoid downstream flooding.
National Weather Service personnel are hopeful that, despite a weeks worth of rain ahead, a break in the weather today and Friday could allow swollen rivers to return to their banks. The weather officials said today that the headwaters of both rivers should see little impact by light showers expected over the next couple of days.
In Miami, the Neosho river has shown no sign of diminishing as of 7 a.m. today, but it is expected to fall below flood stage by early Friday morning, according to weather officials.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials confirmed today that inflow and outflow at the Pensacola Dam should equalize today.
On Wednesday, inflow exceeded outflow, contributing to area flooding.
Ross Adkins, public affairs officer for the Corps, said the flood pool at the dam is expected to peak at 47 percent of capacity - putting the lake level about 5 feet above the conservation pool at 750 feet mean sea level.
Currently, all of the dam's 21 15-foot gates are open and approximately 100,000 cubic feet of water per second is passing through.
The dam's 21 large gates are closed.
In the meantime, water in Miami and Ottawa County is surpassing flowage easements.
Miami City Manager Michael Spurgeon said today that water levels at Riverview Park had risen to 762 feet.
In the night, water continued to rise, despite the cresting of the Neosho River at Commerce.
Spurgeon said a number of man hours have been expended over the past four days as the city monitors the flooding.
Corps officials said that the engineers did implement pre-release measures on Monday.
“Pre-release began as soon as we saw the water coming,” Adkins said.
On that day, 11 small gates were opened at 11 a.m. The remaining small gates were opened at 2 p.m.
According to Adkins, the Corps responsibility of flood control is challenged by the potential of downstream flooding.
“The whole thing has to be juggled for (its impact on) the Arkansas River,” Adkins said. “We can't cause downstream flooding.”
On the top side, where the Neosho and Spring rivers feed the Grand Lake reservoir, Adkins said the Corps is in constant communication with weather officials and river forcastors as engineers attempt to balance the 11-lake system and effectively dispense the inflow of water.
To date, all gates at the John Redmond Dam in Kansas remain closed. The flood control there is 23 percent full and the Corps expects little to change in the next several days.
“Gates there will not be opened until downstream conditions permit,” Adkins said.
Adkins could not specifically address questions of why water was allowed to exceed flowage easements in Miami and Ottawa County when flood pools downstream are less than 50 percent full.
The Corps official reiterated that actions of the Corps are based on the projected impact on channel capacity and the potential of downstream flooding.