Lower-than-expected rainfall over the weekend means that U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials no longer expect to begin increasing outflows at the Tuttle Creek Lake outlet works on Tuesday.
Officials from the Corps and the National Weather Service spoke during a conference call Sunday afternoon.
“Currently there are no planned releases,” said Eric Shumate, chief of hydrologic engineering for the Corps’ Kansas City District, of which Tuttle Creek is a part. “Releases possibly anticipated for Tuesday were if water reached top of flood pool. Some of the water we were expecting to get overnight did not materialize. The pool is slowly rising, but we do not anticipate releases within next few days.”
The Corps on Sunday evening did increase outflows at Perry Lake, however, which is part of the same system as Tuttle Creek and is more full.
Perry Lake’s flood control pool is 97% full, while Tuttle is at 88% as of Sunday. Meanwhile, Milford Lake and Clinton Lake, the other two lakes that are part of the Kansas River Basin, are 69 percent full and 50 percent full, respectively.
Those lakes must coordinate and share available space in the river channel. For the last couple of months, the river has been too high for any of the lakes to release the extra water flowing into them because it would create flooding downstream in Missouri.
Currently, at Tuttle Creek, the Corps is only making minimum outflows of about 200 cubic feet per second at the stilling basin, also called the tubes. Officials said they expect Tuttle Creek to approach its top by late this week, but there are no plans at this point to release water from the emergency spillway gates, which are on the southeast edge of the lake.
When Tuttle Creek’s flood control pool is at 100% (1,136 feet), officials will increase releases regardless of the river level. But, they said, they’ll only release an amount equal to the lake inflow. As of Sunday afternoon, the lake was at 1,131.72, and inflow was 35,000 cfs. That was an increase of 1.38 feet from the day before.
The maximum amount the tubes can release is 48,800 cfs.
A representative of the National Weather Service on Sunday said the forecast calls for heavy rain in much of Nebraska and Kansas on Monday. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday look fairly dry, he said.
The Corps’ three-day lake forecast predicts that Tuttle will be at 1,134.19 on Wednesday. The lake’s normal level is 1,075 feet.