According to Geary County Emergency Management officials, the threat of flooding is still possible in Geary County, though it is not likely.
Rain is forecasted to fall throughout the week, which may cause Milford Lake to approach a critical lake level criteria. County officials met Tuesday to discuss concerns.
“The good thing is it looks like things are getting better, not worse,” Geary County Emergency Management Director Garry Berges said.
Milford Lake Army Corps of Engineers Project Manager Bill Whitworth provided an update on a waiver he submitted to assist in diminishing the risk of flooding. The corps has received a waiver to release 4,000 cubic feet of water per second, if that becomes necessary.
“If you take out Harlan County Lake and Wilson Lake in Nebraska, 90 percent of the Kansas City District’s flood pool is occupied, which is why a few of the lakes that were approaching critical surveillance (above 80 percent) were granted a waiver,” Whitworth said. “That waiver is kind of a conditional thing. Right now we can release up to 4,000 cubic feet per second (CFS). That means if we get a big inflow of rain that is above that, we still can’t exceed 4,000 cubic feet per second. The intent is to drop us down about a foot and a third from where we are now to get us at the 80 percent (of the lake’s flood pool) level, which is 1,171.4. We are going to try to stick to that. That way it allows us 4,000 cubic feet per second maximum so we will try to stick to that kind of a range for right now until we can get more space freed up at the Missouri.”
Whitworth also tried to clear up any confusion about the difference between units of measurement regarding water. Cubic feet per second is a basic unit of measurement for water that is in motion. One cubic foot is equivalent to 7.4805 gallons.
The lake’s water level as of Tuesday was at 1,172.79 with an inflow of 5,800 CFS. The waiver submitted by the Kansas City District was approved by the Northwestern District. The waiver grants the lake a deviation, which is a request for approval to temporarily operate in a manner different than prescribed in a project’s approved water control manual, Whitworth said. This particular waiver granted deviation for Milford Lake, Tuttle Lake, Perry and Clinton. The deviation is necessary in order to manage lakes, and provide the flood control benefits they were designed to do, he said. The deviation permits a release of water from the upper 20 percent of the pool, which was not previously permitted by the manual. However, a release is not necessary with the deviation in order to reduce the risk of a larger surcharge.
As of Tuesday, Milford’s release schedule was as follows:
• 9:30 a.m. — 500 CFS
• 10:30 a.m. — 1,000 CFS
• 11:30 a.m. — 2,000 CFS
• 12:30 p.m. — 4,000 CFS
Emergency management officials are working with the public in order to prepare for the possible displacement of people who may be severely impacted by potential flooding. There is currently a shelter in place at Junction City’s Church of the Nazarene, and the Red Cross is on standby to provide additional assistance if needed.
Residents can also request sandbags. Those who wish to receive sandbags can contact the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at 785-238-5714 to receive more information.