Sunday, May 26, 2019

End in sight? Arkansas River appears to have crested at Muskogee


As historic flooding continues to affect northeastern and east-central Oklahoma, the Army Corps of Engineers appears to be cautiously optimistic about the reduction in flooding in the Arkansas River at Muskogee.

From the Tulsa World:
“Right now, on our current path, we expect the river to be back within its banks at Muskogee around June 8, barring any additional significant weather,” [Tulsa District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers spokesman Preston Chasteen] said.
Releases from Keystone Lake are being bumped up from 250,000 cubic feet per second to 275,000 cfs by Monday morning. That will result in slightly higher flood levels in the Tulsa area. However, for residents in Muskogee and further south, discharge from the Grand River at Fort Gibson Lake has reduced from 211,000 cfs at midnight last night to 177,000 cfs at 6pm Sunday, which will result in an almost even swap with the increase from Keystone.

According to Muskogee County Commissioner Ken Doke, "the Corps intends to stagger the flows at other dams to keep this a net-neutral flow for our area [Muskogee, Fort Gibson, Braggs, Webbers Falls]."

Information from the Corps of Engineers appears to show that the Arkansas River crested, at least temporarily, at 46.39' at 9:00am this morning, and has fallen slightly to 46.21' as of 7pm. That is the same level the river was at at midnight. This is the first stretch of falling water levels since this flooding event began.



While forecasts are calling for more storms on Tuesday and Wednesday, with the potential for areas of significant rainfall, there is no rain in the forecast for Memorial Day, which will allow water levels to begin falling (even if its slowly) to hopefully compensate for any additional precipitation on Tuesday/Wednesday.

In other words, it's beginning to look like the end is in sight for flood-beleaguered communities up and down the Arkansas River!

The amount of rainfall that has occurred in the Arkansas River watershed is staggering, as shown in the above map from Oklahoma Mesonet. Everything that fell in area 'A' runs through the Three Forks at Muskogee, the confluence of the Arkansas, Verdigris, and Grand rivers.

It will still take plenty of time for inundated areas to become accessible for residents, restoration professionals, and volunteers. Due to the extreme contamination found in floodwaters, much of what has been affected by water damage in homes and businesses will need to be disposed of.

It is vitally important for health and safety that proper steps are taken when dealing with the aftermath of a house flooded by an incident such as this. Make sure that you work with restoration companies that have the proper training, equipment, and insurance to handle this type of work.

It is advisable to go ahead and call a water damage restoration company now in order to get on their list of jobs. Waiting until the waters have fully receded may put you behind multiple other customers.

Clean Pro, the company my family runs, has been serving customers in the Muskogee area since 1987. Water damage restoration is one of the services we provide, and we are IICRC-Certified in Water Damage Restoration. You can reach us by calling 918-686-0222, emailing CleanProMuskogee@gmail.com, visiting our website, or messaging us on Facebook.

We have already had customers call to line us up for work, which is going to be the case for all of the local restoration companies. There will be plenty of work to go around, and I have already heard of out-of-area companies that plan to head to our area to work. Whoever you end up using, make sure that they are properly trained, insured, and reputable.

To reiterate some information that I've posted previously, for official road highway closures, visit OKRoads.org. This does not cover county or city streets. Some local road closures can be found on the official Facebook pages of the City of Muskogee Emergency Management and the Muskogee County Emergency Management. You can also check out this video from Clean Pro posted yesterday, showing the flooding on the north and east side of Muskogee and giving out information for area flood donation dropoffs, updates from the City and County, and tips on what to do about damage at your home or business.

Current and recent river levels can be accessed here, and forecasts for river levels can be viewed here.

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