The Reporter covers Miller, Morgan and Camden County in Central Missouri's Lake of the Ozarks and is published once per week on Wednesdays.


Published May 22, 2019

Truman Lake lowering to impact Lake of the Ozarks

LAKE OF THE OZARKS – The waters of the Lake of the Ozarks is receiving more input from the Harry S Truman Reservoir due to above average inflows.

Last week the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced that they will dump more water than usual into the Lake of the Ozarks to prepare for future rain.

In their new release last Tuesday, the Army Corps of Engineers said:

“Due to above average inflows into Harry S Truman Reservoir releases will be increased to 50,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) starting tomorrow morning 15 May 2019. The release will include spilling 20,000 cfs from the tainter gates starting at 6:30 a.m.”

The releases are coordinated with Ameren so they can prepare for the added amount of water.

“Releases are being made in accordance with the Water Control Manual, in coordination with Ameren Missouri - Lake of the Ozarks - and space available at downstream control points, The Army Corps of Engineer’s said. “The (Truman) lake has risen to 727.3 feet and 47.8 percent of the flood control pool occupied. Drawing the reservoir back down facilitates releases from upstream reservoirs and helps to prepare for future rain events.”

On Tuesday May 14, the following levels were recorded at Truman Lake.

• Truman Lake level: 727.3
• Harry S Truman Dam Outflow: 13,218.8 SFD
• Lake Ozark Inflow: 15,942 SFD
• Bagnell Dam Anticipated Discharge 38,000 SFD

Those numbers dramatically increased by last Friday (May 17) in order to drop the level of Truman Lake.

• Harry S Truman Dam Head Level at Midnight: 726.8 FT
• Harry S Truman Dam Outflow: 50,438.6 SFD
• Lake Ozark Inflow: 52,470.0 SFD
• Bagnell Dam Anticipated Discharge 40,000.0 SFD

The higher levels at Truman Lake have resulted in many lake facilities to close. On May 10 the Army Cops of Engineers warned the public about the flooding along the lake.

“Recent rains have increased Harry S. Truman Lake’s elevation to 724.11’ mean sea level (MSL) this morning, and the lake is expected to surpass 728’ msl by mid-week next week – that is with no additional rain. Therefore, some Corps of Engineers facilities are being closed or partially closed due to flooding. Increased surveillance of the dam will begin at elevation 725.6’ msl.

“Long Shoal and Bucksaw Campgrounds will close today by noon. It is expected that Talley Bend Campground, Sparrowfoot Campground - B Loop, and Berry Bend Equestrian Campground will close by Monday May 13. It is suggested that campers with reservations for the coming weeks check the status of their reservations by calling 877-444-6777.

“Campgrounds that remain partially open are Sparrowfoot A Loop, Berry Bend C Loop, Thibaut Point, and Osage Bluff.

“Cooper Creek ATV Area is closed. Corps swimming beaches will remain closed until further notice.

“Closed boat ramps include Windsor Crossing, Fairfield, Shawnee Bend, and Berry Bend. Ramps that may be closed next week include Long Shoal, Osage Bluff, Thibaut Point, Crowe’s Crossing, and Sac River.”

The increase is much larger than the figures for the same time last year.

On May 17, 2018, the figures were:
• Harry S Truman Dam Head Level at Midnight: 705.5 FT
• Harry S Truman Dam Outflow: 5,626.5 SFD
• Lake Ozark Inflow: 7,323.0 SFD
• Bagnell Dam Anticipated Discharge 1,032.0 SFD

Higher waters on Truman and Lake of the Ozarks can make boating dangerous and the Army Cops of Engineers advised boaters to be careful.

“The Corps is also reminding boaters that high water levels can make boating more hazardous. Officials advise boaters and anglers to prepare for these conditions and use extra caution. When boating, no matter how high the water, be sure to wear a life jacket. You should also remember to use the boat’s kill switch and slow down to watch for submerged debris.”

The discharge levels for Lake of the Ozarks are still far below the flooding in December of 2014.

In the final period of that year, an unprecedented wave of heavy rainfall lasting several days forced Ameren Missouri to open all the floodgates at Bagnell Dam to help deal with rising lake levels.

The lake level rose to a high-water mark of 663.83 feet on Dec. 28, 2014 with a discharge rate of 104,000 cubic feet per second through the floodgates.

It is unknown what the conditions of the lake will be for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend, but scattered thunderstorms are being forecast for the entire holiday weekend.

For more information on the management of the Missouri River Basin, visit:

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