Cresting of the Neosho River at Commerce is expected to crest at 27.5 feet, according to the National Weather Service - meaning that flood waters in Miami could rise above the city's second-largest flood of record.
Miami's Emergency Management Coordinator Gary Brooks said Sunday that the Neosho River was expected to crest Thursday at 23.8 feet at the Commerce gauge, nearly nine feet above flood stage.
“Of course it is all contingent upon rainfall over the next few days,” Brooks said. “And, on what kind of rainfall occurs on us and above us - let's hope not a lot.”
Within hours of Brooks' statements, the National Weather Service changed the forecast, calling for the river to crest late Tuesday at more than 12 feet above flood state, a level that local officials say exceeds what was recorded when Miami flooded in 1986.
Today, Miami firefighters began knocking on doors to encourage residents in the city's flood-prone areas to evacuate.
As of 5 a.m. today, the Neosho River at the Commerce gauge was at 21.78 feet and water was flowing through the channel at 54,867 cubic feet per second.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers ordered 12 small gates to be opened at the Pensacola Dam on Sunday, allowing a water discharge of 33,060 cubic feet per second.
The Corps has not yet ordered the release of water at the Fort Gibson dam to the south. Two gates, one large and one small, were opened Sunday at Hudson Lake.
In the meantime, Coffeyville, Kan., is experiencing a record flood. Reportedly, the southeastern Kansas community has not seen flooding at the current level for 65 years.
Kansas officials also were preparing Sunday for additional flooding at Independence and Coffeyville along the Verdigris River, which already had reached record levels, as the Army Corps of Engineers planned to open floodgates at the Elk City and Fall River Toronto Lake reservoirs upstream.
In Miami, Oklahoma Highway 125 was closed after water crossed the road just south of the Neosho River bridge. Oklahoma Highway 10 southwest of Miami has also been closed at Cole Creek.
Brooks said water will continue to inundate the park as well as the municipal fairgrounds.