More water released from Toledo Bend, flooding downstream residents
Dams on two Vernon Parish lakes are in danger of breaching because of heavy rains dumped on the region by the remnants of Hurricane Harvey, the Vernon Parish sheriff announced late yesterday.
“DOTD will continue to monitor both lake situations, both dams,” Sheriff Sam Craft said of Lake Vernon and Anacoco Lake. “This is only the possibility of a breach. This situation has occurred due to all the volume of rain, from the rising of the water and the pressure on the dams.”
He said residents below the dams were being warned to prepare for immediate evacuations if the situation worsened.
A video of Craft’s full statement can be seen here.
At the same time, water levels on the massive Toledo Bend Reservoir continued to rise, prompting officials to increase the openings of the gates at that dam.
The lake had risen to 173.67 feet by 10 a.m. today, and Jerry “JT” Thompson of Living the Dream Guide Service said the water was lapping at the top of his dock.
The Sabine River Authority website shows the 11 spillway gates at the Toledo Bend dam were opened to 6 feet at 10 a.m. today to allow 66,000 cubic feet of water per second to flow through the spillways.
Another 15,520 cfs were moving through the dam’s two generators, bringing the total outflow to 81,520 cfs.
Avid angler Greg Crawford, pastor of The Church at Rosepine, said early this morning that homes in the Sabine River basin already were flooding.
Crawford acknowledged many impacted by the release of water from Toledo Bend were unhappy, particularly since they were flooded in March 2016 when historic flooding caused an even greater release of water from the reservoir.
“But they’d really be in trouble if that dam broke,” said Crawford, whose church is cranking up relief operations.
Crawford said his church will serve as a distribution point for supplies as residents deal with flooding, and that a particular need is bottled water.
If you would like to help, information about the church (along with the location) can be found here.
Guide Thompson said those who have planned Toledo Bend fishing trips for this weekend don’t have to stay away, but he said they’ll have to adjust to catch bass.
“They’ve been deep, but they immediately move up shallow when the water comes up,” Thompson said. “As soon as the water started coming up, (bass) started moving up.”