Janet Barber

DELAWARE COUNTY — It was January 8 when Delaware County experienced it’s last flood, and the waters came again on Tuesday dumping almost 6 inches of water on the county, taking out roads, blocking bridges, taking out tin horns, washouts and creek crossings.

District #1 County Commissioner Ken Crowder, whose district includes Grove and northern Delaware County, said most of the places that normally flood have not flooded, but there are new areas in his district that has flooded this time.

“Most of the road closings are pretty much self-explanatory, and there are some that are flooded and impassable and some that are flooded, but still passable,” he commented. “Drivers just need to use extreme caution.”

District #2, covering parts of Jay, east of Jay, the Zena area, and the southern Grove region, was the hardest hit with roads being washed out and bridges jammed with debris.

“We have numerous roads closed from south of Lake Road 6 to Spavinaw Creek. During the last flood we had isolated areas that were closed, this time, they’re widespread over District #2,” said Billy Cornell, District #2 Commissioner.

“What we need for people to understand is that we cannot repair the roads or the washouts as long as the water is running. It has to recede before we can get in there to haul gravel and road material for repair. We’re working full force to get this done and will probably work through Saturday. Our main goal is to get everybody in and out, and we hope everybody understands that we’ll get to their road as quickly as we can,” he said.

County Commissioner for District #3, Dave Kendrick, said in his district in southern Delaware County he didn’t feel that this flood hit his district as hard as the flood in January.

“All those bridges that were cleaned out in January of debris has now jammed back up with more debris,” he said.

As of Wednesday, three roads were closed, but his crews are working to get them opened as quickly as possible. “I really want the residents down here to understand that we’re going to get the road situation where we can get them in and out of their homes, and then we’ll come back and get them in better shape. They may be rough for a while, but they’ll be safe and passable,” he said.

In a news release issued from the Grand River Dam Authority on Wednesday morning for those county residents living on the shores of Grand Lake:

At 10 a.m. on Wednesday, March 19:

• Grand Lake elevation was 748.86 feet.

• Grand Lake flood control pool was at 33.52 percent capacity.

• At the direction of the United States Army Corps of Engineers, eleven (11) floodgates were open at Pensacola Dam, discharging 37,576 cubic feet per second (cfs) of water. Two more gates may be opened.

• Six (6) units were online at the Pensacola Dam powerhouse, releasing 13,733 cfs of water through generation.

• Releases through floodgates and generation totaled 51,309 cfs.

• Inflows into Grand Lake totaled 142,840 cfs.

• Lake Hudson elevation was 628.29 feet.

• Lake Hudson's flood control pool was at 46.97 percent capacity.

• At the direction of the United States Army Corps of Engineers, four (4) floodgates were open at Robert S. Kerr Dam, discharging 66,158 cfs.

• Two (2) units were online at Robert S. Kerr Dam powerhouse, releasing 13,500 cfs of water through generation.

• Releases through floodgates and generation totaled 79,658 cfs.

• Inflows into Lake Hudson totaled 108,332 cfs.

As of 10 a.m. on Wednesday, March 19, the United States Army Corps of Engineers was predicting that Grand Lake would crest at 752 feet on Friday morning, March 21. The prediction for Lake Hudson was 631 feet by Friday afternoon, March 21.

The Grand River watershed consists of approximately 12,000 square miles of runoff in parts of Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Of that total, over half—7,000 square miles—is uncontrolled runoff, meaning there is no reservoir to control it above the Pensacola Dam. However, the remaining 5,000 square miles of runoff passes through the John Redmond Dam, located near Burlington, Kansas, prior to reaching the Grand River system in Oklahoma.