High waves hit Chamberlain, but levels drop during inspectionCHAMBERLAIN/OACOMA — Waves 3 to 4 feet high caused by strong winds battered the already flood-stricken areas of Chamberlain and Oacoma on Thursday night but didn’t appear to cause much damage to levees.
By: Chris Huber, The Daily Republic
CHAMBERLAIN/OACOMA — Waves 3 to 4 feet high caused by strong winds battered the already flood-stricken areas of Chamberlain and Oacoma on Thursday night but didn’t appear to cause much damage to levees.
Gary McQuistion’s house is one of those in Chamberlain most in danger of flooding.
“All good so far,” McQuistion said Friday. “They (the waves) were really rolling into the campground last night, though.”
McQuistion, who lives near inundated American Creek Campground, said a large number of shrubs and bushes in front of his house helped damper waves before they could reach the sandbag levee around his house.
The rising water had reached the bottom of McQuistion’s sandbag levee Friday.
“I think we will be all right as long as we don’t get 10 inches of rain. If that happens, all heck will break loose,” McQuistion said.
In Oacoma, concrete road blocks were placed in front of homes that were in danger of flooding earlier in the week along North Main Street.
The idea was that waves would break onto those concrete blocks and not onto the more fragile sandbag levees that circle houses.
The blocks appear to have worked, as no major problems were reported from the Oacoma area.
Residents in the area saw the water level drop slightly throughout the day Friday as the spillway gates at upstream Big Bend Dam were closed to inspect how the structure has been affected by the flooding.
Army Corps of Engineers officials said releases from Big Bend Dam were stepped down from 155,000 cubic feet per second to 80,000 cfs Friday as the spillway gates were closed.
“Those areas saw river levels drop because of the closure of spillway gates at Big Bend Dam, but as they open back up, you can expect to see levels go back up and past what they were when the gates were open,” said Jody Farhat, of the Corps of Engineers.
Farhat said inspections should be completed today and spillway gates will be opened again sometime this weekend.
A U.S. Geological Service gauge in the Missouri River at Chamberlain showed the river declining from 74.77 feet early Friday to 74.2 feet later in the afternoon. The river at Chamberlain has been above its previous record depth of 72.21 feet, set in 1997, since June 24.
“Inflows into the Missouri are slowing, making the river more manageable,” Farhat said.
Officials also said Lake Francis Case at Fort Randall is near its crest and could start to decline as soon as this weekend.