As Hurricane Harvey vomited trillions of gallons of water onto the Houston region, Toledo Bend officials started running water through the dam to pull down the lake levels — just in case.
Yesterday, the situation didn't look too dire. Toledo Bend was marking 171.35 feet, two gates were cracked open and both generators in the dam were running 24 hours a day.
Today, however, Harvey made its second U.S. landfall in Cameron Parish and the deluge moved to the Toledo Bend region. By 2:30 p.m., the lake had jumped to 172.86 feet and officials cracked open more gates to more than double the outflow.
Eleven gates were opened 1 foot wide. Whereas the outflow through the spillway had been 5,000 cubic feet per second, at 2:30 p.m. 11,000 cfs of water were being dumped into the Sabine River.
Another 14,390 cfs of water rang through the dam's two generators to bring the total outflow from the lake to 25,390 cfs.
Just an hour later, however, the lake had risen to 172.94 feet., and authorities opened the 11 gates another foot to increase the spillway outflow to 22,000 cfs.
Including generator flow, that means that at 3:30 p.m. a total of 36,390 cubic feet of water hit the Sabine River every second.
To put that into perspective, 207,000 cfs were released in 2016 when Toledo Bend rose to record levels. That release, shown in this video, resulted in massive releases of water and the flooding of downstream homes and businesses.
Louisiana Sportsman will continue monitoring the situation and report any changes.