2017 Flooding

Update 6/11/17 – All spillway releases were ended this past week. Flood event which began the last week of April is finally coming to a close. The Corps is letting Newport fall out to regulating stage. Complete notes below on spillway releases from the dams have been updated. Look for prolonged generation the rest of the summer to empty the flood pools of the five White River lakes.

Update 5/15/17 – Spillway releases began at Bull Shoals Dam to make up for three downed generators.

Update 5/9/17 – Spillway releases are currently closed at all but Table Rock Dam.

Spillway Releases at Beaver Dam:

At 4:00 p.m April, 29, the Corps of Engineers opened one hydropower unit releasing 3,500 cubic feet per second. Seven flood gates were opened at 7 p.m. Each gate was open one foot, with a total release of 10,500 CFS.

Spillway releases were increased at one a.m. April 30 to 55,500 cubic feet per second. The seven spillway gates were opened six-foot releasing 52,000 cubic feet per second in addition to the 3,500 c.f.s. being released through the turbine generators. The total release is 55,500 c.f.s. The lake crested at 1,131.3′.

The Corps decreased releases from Beaver Dam to 28,500 cubic feet at 8 a.m. on May 1. The release will be a combination of the seven spillway gates opened to three feet in additions to 3,500 c.f.s. being released through seven turbine generators. The lake is currently at elevation 1130.2 and falling. The lake crested at 1131.25 at 4 p.m. April 30. Rainfall is forecasted for the White River Drainage basin this week, and the Corps is monitoring the situation.

The Corps decreased releases to 11,000 cubic feet per second at 11 a.m. on May 1. The release is a combination of the seven spillway gates opened to one foot in addition to 3,400 c.f.s. being released through one turbine generator will continue until the lake reaches elevation 1130. The lake is currently at elevation 1,130.1 and falling. Rainfall is forecasted for the White River drainage basin this week and the Corps is monitoring the situation.

Spillway releases were decreased to 7,200 cubic feet per second at 8 a.m. May 3.The release is a combination of the seven spillway gates opened to one-half foot in addition to 3,400 c.f.s. being released through one turbine generator. Once inflows fall low enough, the spillway gates will be closed and water will be passed through the generators. The lake is currently at elevation 1,129.5, and passing inflow.

The Corps closed spillway gates at Beaver Dam at noon May 5. Releases of 3,800 cubic feet per second through the generator continues. The current lake elevation is 1,129.3. The Corps continues to pass inflow through generation.

The Corps opened seven spillway gates to 2 feet each at Beaver Dam at 6 p.m. May 20. The spillway release of 15,850 cubic feet per second combined with 3,400 c.f.s. released through the turbine generator had a combined release of about 19,250 c.f.s.

The Corps opened spillway gates one foot at Beaver Dam earlier on May 20. The spillway release of 7,600 cubic feet per second combined with 3,400 c.f.s. released through the generator had a combined release of about 11,000 c.f.s.

Spillway gates were closed by May 22.

Spillway Releases at Table Rock Dam:

Five spillway gates were opened one foot each on April 23, 2017. The spillways will remain open until the lake drops to 916 feet. Releases increased from 15,000 CFS to 20,000 CFS on April 29.

At 11:00 a.m. April 30, Table Rock Lake spillway gates were opened 1.5 feet increasing total releases to 30,000 cfs from the dam. Larger releases may be necessary inflows to the lakes continue to rise.

On April 30, at 6:00 p.m. the Corps increased Table Rock Lake gates to 4 feet releasing 52,500 cubic feet per second in addition to 10,000 c.f.s. being released through the turbine generators. The total release is about 62,500 c.f.s. Larger releases may be necessary if inflows to the lakes continue to rise.

The lake crested at 934.5′ on May 1.

One May 4, spillway releases were decreased spillway releases at 8 a.m. from Table Rock Dam. Ten spillway gates have been closed to 2 feet releasing 26,400 cubic feet per second in addition to the 10,100 c.f.s. being released through the generators. The total release is 36,500 c.f.s. The lake is at elevation 931.5.

The Corps further decreased spillway releases at noon on May 4 from Table Rock Dam. Spillway gates were closed to 1 foot releasing 13,400 cubic feet per second in addition to the 10,000 c.f.s. being released through the generators. The total release is 23,400 c.f.s.

The Corps decreased releases from Table Rock Dam May 15. At noon, four spillway gates closed leaving six gates opened 1 foot releasing about 7,800 cubic feet per second. At 2 p.m. three additional spillway gates closed leaving three gates opened 1 foot releasing about 3,900 c.f.s. The total release from Table Rock Dam varied from 10,000 c.f.s. to 14,000 c.f.s as hydropower releases vary with power demand. The average release for the day was about 11,000 c.f.s.

The Corps increased spillway releases at noon, May 20, from Table Rock Dam. All 10 spillway gates opened to one-half foot releasing about 6,300 cubic feet per second in addition to the 9,700 c.f.s. being released through the turbine generators. The total release was about 16,000 c.f.s.

The Corps increased spillway releases at 9 a.m. May 22. Five spillway gates remain at one-half foot each and five remain open one foot each for a total spillway release of 9,900 cubic feet per second. In addition, about 9,500 c.f.s. is being released through the turbine generators. The total release will vary slightly with power releases fluctuations but will average about 20,000 c.f.s. for the day.

The Corps decreased spillway releases at 10 a.m. May 30. Five spillway gates were closed and five spillway gates remain opened to one-half foot releasing about 3,170 cubic feet per second in addition to the 9,700 c.f.s. being released through the turbine generators. The total release will just under 13,000 c.f.s.

Spillway gates were closed June 4.

Spillway Releases at Bull Shoals Dam:

The Corps of Engineers began spillway releases at noon May 15 from Bull Shoals Dam. At noon, three spillway gates opened 1 foot each releasing about 3,230 cubic feet per second. At 2 p.m., two additional gates opened 1 foot each for a total spillway release of 5,380 c.f.s. The five hydropower turbines remain at full capacity. Three units are offline for maintenance. The total release of spillway gates and hydropower turbines is about 18,000 c.f.s.

Bull Shoals Lake crested at 692.9 on May 15.

The Corps increased spillway releases May 16 from Bull Shoals Dam. At 9 a.m., three additional spillway gates opened 1 foot each, releasing about 8,600 cubic feet per second. The total release through the spillway and through the hydropower turbines increased from 17,800 c.f.s. to about 21,000 c.f.s. At noon, two additional gates opened 1 foot each for a total spillway release through the 10 gates of 10,800 c.f.s. The total release through the spillway and the hydropower turbines increased from 21,000 c.f.s. to about 23,200 c.f.s. The five hydropower turbines will remain at full capacity. Three units are offline for maintenance. The total release through eight hydropower turbines, when the lake is at conservation pool, is between 24,000 c.f.s. and 25,000 c.f.s.

The Corps altered spillway releases May 20 from Bull Shoals Dam. At 2 p.m., 17 spillway gates opened one-half foot each releasing about 9,000 cubic feet per second. The five operating hydropower turbines will remain at full capacity. Three units are offline for maintenance. The total hydropower turbines releases is about 14,000 c.f.s. The total release of spillway gates and hydropower turbines is about 23,000 c.f.s.

The Corps of Engineers increased spillway releases May 25 at 8 a.m. Eight spillway gates were opened from half foot to one foot and 9 gates remain opened to one-half foot each, releasing about 13,300 cubic feet per second. The five operating hydropower turbines remain at full capacity. Three units are offline for maintenance. The total hydropower turbines releases will be about 14,200 c.f.s. The total release of spillway gates and hydropower turbines will be about 27,500 c.f.s.

The Corps increased spillway releases May 30. At 10 a.m., 10 spillway gates opened to one foot each and seven gates remained at one-half foot each releasing about 14,600 cubic feet per second. The five operating hydropower turbines will remain at full capacity. Three units are offline for maintenance. The total hydropower turbines releases will be about 14,200 c.f.s. The total release of spillway gates and hydropower turbines will be about 28,800 c.f.s.

Spillway gates closed Tuesday, June 6.

Recent Spillway Releases at Norfork Dam:

Emergency spillway releases of 27,000 cubic feet began at 8 a.m. on April 30. Twelve spillway gates were opened to two feet in addition to 6,000 c.f.s. released through two turbine generators.

The Corps crested Norfork Lake at 578.99 on May 1. On April 30 at 2:00 p.m. the Corps opened Norfork Dam gates to 4 feet increasing total releases to 50,000 cfs from the dam. Larger releases may be necessary if inflows to the lakes continue to rise.

The Corps decreased releases from Norfork Dam to 19,000 cubic feet per second at noon on May 1. The release is a combination of the 12 spillway gates opened to one foot in addition to 6,000 c.f.s. being released through two turbine generators. The lake is currently at elevation 579 and holding steady.

The Corps closed the spillway gates at Norfork Dam at 8 a.m. May 3 but continues to release 6,000 cubic feet per second through the two turbine units. The release through the generators is 6, 000 c.f.s. The lake is currently at elevation 578.4 and holding steady. Rainfall is forecast for the White River basin this week, and the Corps is monitoring the situation.

The Corps reopened the spillway gates at Norfork Dam at 10 a.m. May 4.  The release will be a combination of the 12 spillway gates opened to one-half foot releasing 7,000 cubic feet per second in addition to 5,000 c.f.s. being released through two generators for a combined release of 12,000 c.f.s. Current lake elevation is 579.2 and rising.

The Corps will increase releases from Norfork Dam to 29,000 cubic feet beginning at five p.m. May 4. The release will be a combination of the 12 spillway gates opened to two feet releasing 23,900 cubic feet per second in addition to 5,100 c.f.s. being released through two turbine generators. Norfork Lake crested at 580.0.

The Corps will decrease releases from Norfork Dam to 24,000 cubic feet beginning at six p.m. May 5. The release will be a combination of the 12 spillway gates opened to one and one-half feet releasing 18,500 cubic feet per second in addition to about 5,500 c.f.s. being released through two generators. At 6 a.m. May 6, the release from Norfork Lake will again be lowered to 19,000 c.f.s. The release will be a combination of the 12 spillway gates opened to one foot releasing 13,300 c.f.s. in addition to about 5,700 c.f.s. being released through two generators.

The Corps decreased releases from Norfork Dam to 9,000 cubic feet at noon May 8. The release is a combination of the six spillway gates opened to one-half foot releasing 3,200 cubic feet per second in addition to about 5,800 c.f.s. being released through two generators.

The Corps of Engineers closed the spillway gates at Norfork Dam at noon May 9. The current lake elevation is 577.2.

Update 5/8/17 – Here’s some drone footage of Table Rock Lake at elevation 934.5

Table Rock Lake at 934.53 (Branson Dam, Eagle Rock Marina / Bridge, Shell Knob Bridge, Kimberling City Bridge, Campbell Point Marina, Kings River Marina.)

Posted by Garrett Barnes on Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Update 5/4/17

Norfork Tailwater at 12,000 CFS

Update 5/2/17 at 9:47 a.m.

Emergency spillway releases are ongoing at Beaver, Table Rock, and Norfork dams.

Current releases from the dams at 7am:
Beaver – 3900 CFS power + 7600 CFS spill = 11,500 CFS total
Table Rock – 10,100 CFS power + 53,500 CFS spill = 63,600 CFS total
Norfork – 5,300 CFS power + 13,200 CFS spill = 18,500 CFS total

The Corps is passing inflow through the dams at all but Table Rock. Little change in releases expected today. Possibility of another 1-3 inches rain tomorrow. [From the Corps Twitter feed]

River Stages:

Kings River crested on 4/30 at 27.5′; currently 8.0′
Crooked Creek at Kelly’s Ford crested on 4/30 at 31.3′; currently 15.2′
Buffalo River at St. Joe crested on 4/30 at 34.3′; currently 10.8′
Calico Rock on the White River crested on 5/1 at 32.6′; currently 14.9′
Newport on the White River crested currently rising and at 31.8′; 1927 crest at 35.6′; flood stage 26′

Update: 4/30/17 at 11:26 a.m.

Flows at Hwy 341 bridge on the White River above Norfork Confluence were at 79,400 cfs at 10:30 a.m. this Sunday morning. River was still rising.

Crooked Creek at Kelly’s Ford had been at 27.3 feet and 81,800 CFS at 9:45 a.m. River had crested and was dropping by 11:15 a.m.

Buffalo River at St. Joe was 34.3 feet and running about 65,800 CFS at 9:45 a.m. and was appearing to be cresting.

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I’ll update this post over the next few days. We’ve seen major flood events in 2004, 2008, 2011, 2015 and now 2017.

Here’s the rainfall totals for the past week.

Rainfall for the past seven days. [Click for full image]

About Scott Branyan

Scott Branyan, a native Arkansan, is a full-time fly-fishing guide.
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