Spillway to flow over

By: Emi FitzGerald Email
By: Emi FitzGerald Email

DENISON, Tex. -- Since the rain won't stop falling, Lake Texoma continues to swell to levels it hasn't reached in almost twenty years. The boat ramps are closed, now lake officials are predicting the water to rise above the spillway as many Texomans stand by to watch.

The current area attraction has become watching Lake Texoma rise and rise.

"It's an awesome sight. The force of the water, the way it, if you see that much water moving it's like, similar to seeing the floodgates open," said Allen Haun, a Denison resident.

Allen and his wife Terri and documenting the increasing elevation. Allen witnessed the spillway overflow in 1957, and in 1990. He and his wife are one of the many taking pictures of the Lake area as it floods.

"I've taken over a hundred pictures since Thursday evening, about 6 o' clock when I started taking pictures and we've been out here everyday and this is like the 2nd time today we've been out here," Terri said.

Army Corps of Engineers say their plans change daily depending on the weather forecast. Now they're planning for more rain. They're anticipating the spillway to reach 640 feet and flow over July 6th.

"If the Red River recedes downstream then we'll be able to start making releases sooner. If not, then we reach that elevation, of course there will be some uncontrolled spill and we'll just have to deal with what we can on floodgate releases," said Ron Jordan, Army Corps lake manager.

Jordan says they can't open the floodgates because areas downstream are in danger of flooding.

People like Terri will keep coming out to watch and see if the lake spills over a third time.

"Well, I have to work tomorrow afternoon so I'll probably come out here in the morning and take more pictures, and then I work Tuesday morning so I'll come out Tuesday afternoon after I get off work and take more pictures, I"m hopefully off a couple days and I'll take more," Terri said.

Authorities closed FM 1310, the road that runs through the spillway because they expect the water to run over the road soon.


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  • by curious on Jul 5, 2007 at 12:37 AM
    the corps had weeks of planning before this stage in point. the corps had no problem running generators last year for elec when lake levels were extremely low. I think there is more money to be made selling extra water to dallas/ft worth and even la along with the power before they concern themselves with tourism, ecosystems and farmlands. they passed the chance to have a controlled flood gate release, now they're at the mercy of the unregulated spillway and may be soon at the mercy of water over the dam, again.
  • by Sharon Location: California on Jul 4, 2007 at 03:43 AM
    I watched the water go over the spillway in '57 and again in '90. As it's been stated, the lake and dam was built to control the water level in the river and prevent flooding downstream. Not opening the flood gates is just something that has to be done to protect the farmlands. It's awesome to watch the water go over the spillway, but it does a lot of damage too. Don't expect to access the dam or spillway area from Texas as it just can't be done. It'll take out the road as it did last time. The water will eventually go back into the river, but the volume of water will be less than if they opened up the gates. Thanks for all the pictures. I'm now living on the west coast, but Denison will always be home.
  • by PARIS Location: Paris, Tx on Jul 3, 2007 at 11:21 PM
    Anonymous, For your info, the Red has been above flood stage at the Dekalb gage for 3 weeks now. It is currently 3 feet above flood stage. Dont feel like the lone stranger up there either, Hugo Lake is now 20 ft high without any release. These dams were built for the sole purpose of flood prevention and drinking water. Until there is concern over the structure of the impoundment, there will not be a release. The lake is doing exactly what it was inteded to do. No-one wants to see the lake run over, nor do we want to see massive releases flood downstream. The 90 flood ruined the RR ecosystem by widening the river down stream to the point where it is not even navigable in a jon boat due to sanding. There are hundreds of millions of dollars of crops, structures, bridges, cattle, and houses down stream that would be destroyed if you were to increase the spill to just 20,000. The reason they can justify a release after an uncontrolled spill is because they consider the structure of the dam in danger due to the erosion of the uncontrolled spill. Untill they reach that danger zone, the lake is doing just what it is supposed to do. And by the way, the river flows east until it reaches Arkansas before it turns south. Therefore, unless you are talking about flooding in Shreveport being South of Denison, I think the flooding will be East of Denison.
  • by curious on Jul 3, 2007 at 12:25 AM
    the corps manages the red river from tx and ok thru la and into the mississippi. I don't know what's happening the whole trip, but la. uses the red river for the transport of barges. this lake was built for flood control/elec generation and so far I've seen, the corps have only utilized the power generators for reducing lake levels making the spillway and flood gates void. this rain has been almost a month in the making and poor planning is the culprit.
  • by Lake Lady Location: Kingston, OK on Jul 2, 2007 at 06:34 PM
    I just wonder about the gambling boats down stream from Lake Texoma (eg. Bossier City), does money keep the flood gates closed so they can continue to operate? Surely not!
  • by anonymous Location: sadler on Jul 2, 2007 at 06:10 PM
    I have to agree with Cody, its not one persons decision to open or close the flood gates. The "corps" as it states is a group of engineers. Not a "troop" of engineer! They are highly qualified decision makers for the lake and the well being of human lives and property around it. The decision to hold the gates is a presumption that the rain will stop or would have stopped before now. Nodody is a perfect climatic engineer, noone would have ever thought about the rain that just keeps coming and no stop to it. I just hope the folks downstream from the spillway have headed the two week warning to move cattle and equipment and got their ten cuts of hay already completed. Im sure it wont be a pretty sight when it goes over , but there is little the corps can do if it dont stop raining. Controlled flood or spillway? Either way its still flooding from all the rain regardless of what the corps does
  • by Jeff Location: Tioga on Jul 2, 2007 at 06:03 PM
    Ya'll act as though we should be building an ARK!!! If you wanna we can start gathering animals two by two.
  • by Brian Location: Denison on Jul 2, 2007 at 05:47 PM
    I will have to agree with tex and cody on this subject. They have to hold back on letting the gates open in hopes some water space will improve downstream. It's a catch 22...because of the huge upper level low that has been parked over texas and oklahoma for days it just is not allowing anyone east or west of Lake Texoma any relief. Sadly it's not just the Texoma area that is dealing with major flooding, it extends well beyond our area in all directions.
  • by Tommy Location: Denison on Jul 2, 2007 at 05:36 PM
    Unusual logic, Cody, but in today's politically correct society, you're probably right.
  • by Cody Location: Grayson on Jul 2, 2007 at 04:21 PM
    Do you honestly think it is one person's decision to open the gates? It isnt, if the lake is going over the spillway it makes it legit for them to open the gates because it is going to flood them anyways. If it never went over the spillway they would just have to leave it at full pool until it quits raining downstream. I doubt these guys are just sitting around in their offices hoping to make history one more time. For one, once the water goes over the spillway it will wash out the FM road coming in towards the dam from Dave's Ski and Tackle. They don't want it to go over the spillway, they just have to let it to make it legit to flood downstream.
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