MIAMI — It sounds like the worst could possibly be over.
While more rainfall is expected over the next couple of days, meteorologist Nicole McGavock of the National Weather Service in Tulsa said the level of the Neosho River was 25.2 feet at the Stepps Ford bridge near Commerce during a 4 p.m. Storm Adaptive Management Plan conference call Saturday with various federal, state and local officials.
She said it should be mostly steady through Monday evening, then likely fall slowly to 23 feet by Thursday.
That forecast factors in an additional ½ inch of rainfall over the next 18 hours.
McGavock said the Spring River at Quapaw is falling and will continue to fall, dropping below flood stage Sunday evening.
“We don't have it going up any higher right now even with additional rainfall,” she said.
Miami received 1.89 inches of rain overnight, 1 to 1½ inches over southeast Kansas and between 2 to 5 inches over the John Redmond Reservoir basin near Burlington, Kansas.
McGavock said the forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday over the Neosho basin could be 1½ inches.
Miami has received 12.52 inches of rain over the past seven days and 13.73 over the previous 14.
As of 3 p.m. Saturday, the level at Pensacola Dam at Langley was 754.71 feet with a reservoir volume of just over 2-million acre-feet.
The pool usage was 97 percent.
There have been several discharge cutbacks Saturday at the dam, according to Bill Chatron of the Army Corps of Engineers.
“We had them go from approximately 188,000 to about 180,000 at noon then to about 170,000 at 1 p.m.,” he said. “We show the inflow continuing to drop off and are planning another gate change tonight. The next gate change will probably be tomorrow (Sunday) and the next one late Monday.”
He said the Corps was predicting the Pensacola elevation at midnight Sunday to be 754.5 feet. 754.0 at midnight Monday and continuing to slowly drop after that.
Record releases at Redmond — which was on the drawing board at the time of the record-setting flood of 1951 — already are factored in to Neosho totals.
“We’ve never had the gates open this far,” Chatron said. “There is some uncertainty how much water we will actually get out of the floodgates at this point. We were calculating between 33- and 35,000 cfs and at 1500 (3 p.m.) we were showing about 32,264.
“We made that gate change at noon and we won’t really know until it hits the Burlington gauge.”
The lake level in Redmond got where it was less than 3 inches between the top of the lake and the top of the gate.
“When that happens, we have to raise gates higher,” Chatron said.
As a result, Redmond should peak at approximately 1068.71 and start falling.