LAKE OF THE OZARKS, Mo. — The Bagnell Dam floodgates are open, and Ameren predicts they may be open for several weeks.

On Tuesday evening, Ameren reported Truman Dam increased its discharge to 50,000 cubic feet per second (cfs), as the Army Corps of Engineers attempts to lower the heavily flooded Truman Lake. The lake had been releasing minimal amounts, despite being at or near full capacity, since the Missouri and Mississippi rivers downstream were flooded.

Between 7 and 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Ameren opened the Bagnell Dam floodgates to match Truman Dam's output. By Tuesday night, Bagnell Dam's output was hovering between 48,000 and 49,000 cfs. Ameren said this will likely be the case for awhile, as Truman Lake slowly recedes. By Tuesday evening, Truman Lake was at 739.1 feet and falling. The floodgates have the capacity to pass upwards of 200,000 cfs, but on Tuesday, they were only adding about 10,000 cfs to the dam's overall output: the turbines that generate electricity can pass 40,000 or more. Wednesday morning, Ameren increased the flow to about 60,000 cfs.

A Bagnell Dam operator noted Truman Dam's output could rise to as high as 80,000 cfs, and if that happens, Bagnell Dam will match that output. Property owners downstream are notified when large changes in output that will cause flooding take place.

To manage the amount of water released from Bagnell Dam, Ameren Missouri remains in contact with the Army Corps of Engineers, operators of the upstream Truman Dam. Ameren Missouri is also working with the Water Patrol Division of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, which oversees boaters on the Lake.

"We are focused on safety, and we want residents along the Osage River and on the Lake of the Ozarks to be prepared for changing water conditions," said Warren Witt, director of hydro operations at Ameren Missouri. 

In addition to higher levels on the Osage, Ameren says Lake levels will also fluctuate. Residents have several options for the most up-to-date information. Hourly Lake water-level information is available at AmerenMissouri.com/lake, and a daily report on Lake of the Ozarks water levels is available at 573.365.9205.

"Water movement can cause wear on dock electrical equipment," Witt said. "I encourage all dock owners to perform regular checks and have both the dock and its power supply inspected by a qualified electrician."

Ameren Missouri offers these additional safety tips:

  • High water levels increase the chance for large debris in the Lake and the Osage River.
  • If you feel a shock, swim away from the dock and if possible, swim to the shoreline and exit the water there.
  • Never energize or re-energize a ground fault circuit interrupter while swimmers are near the dock.
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