MOUNTAIN HOME, Ark. – The Little Rock District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports that releases from Norfork Dam of 27,000 cubic feet per planned to begin at 8 a.m. today because of 10 inches of rain that fell yesterday within Norfork Lake’s drainage basin. With more rain in the forecast, larger releases could become necessary.
The release will be a combination of the 12 spillway gates opened to two feet in addition to 6,000 c.f.s. being released through two turbine generators.
The lake has captured a huge amount of runoff from intensive rains yesterday and this morning. The lake is currently at elevation 571.9 and continuing to rise about a foot an hour, with 66 percent of flood storage capacity in use. If increased releases are not begun this morning, Norfork will exceed its flood storage capacity before the end of the day and still be rising with no more rainfall.
With more rain forecasted, people should decide beforehand whether to move belongings to higher ground. Flows downstream can increase quickly, with perhaps no more than an hour or two notice, and rapidly changing conditions could create even shorter notice.
The closer to the dam you are, the faster river stages can rise. Large releases can occur during heavy rain with no more than an hour or two notice, and rapidly changing conditions could create even shorter notice.
People in at-risk areas should stay in contact with local emergency officials. If larger than normal releases are required from the dam, warnings will go out through local emergency channels. Local officials may not know you require notification unless you have told them so.
Army Corps of Engineers personnel are monitoring lake levels and maintaining 24-hour surveillance, and the dam is sound. Personnel from the Corps’ Mountain Home Project Office are staying in contact with state and local officials to coordinate public safety information.
Do not rely on rumors. If you have questions, call the Mountain Home Project Office at 870-425-2700. In addition, information is posted on the Internet at www.swl.usace.army.mil.
Although the releases are being increased, the Corps lakes in the White River basin are all earning their keep reducing flood damages downstream along the White and Black rivers. River stages remain high because of heavy rainfall downstream of the dam, and the lakes are preventing flood levels from being even higher and possibly threatening peoples’ lives.