LITTLE ROCK, Ark., April 18 – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers would like to remind everyone that extreme heavy rains throughout March and April have left the upper White River system lakes with almost no capacity for additional flood storage. Beaver, Table Rock, Bull Shoals, Norfork and Greers Ferry Lakes are currently at or near the top of spillway gates. This means any significant additional rainfall will have to be passed directly through those gates, greatly diminishing the project’s ability to reduce flood damages.

This is similar to what happened during the rainfall event of April 10. While the Corps will do everything possible to limit peak releases from the projects, the amount of each release is completely dependent upon the intensity and duration of any future rainfall event. Future basin rainfalls may produce releases equal to or substantially larger than what was recently experienced.

Under more normal circumstances, each lake would collect rainfall and runoff. Then, dam operators would release that water gradually over time as channel capacity downstream became available, allowing more flood storage to build in the lakes.

However, persistent flooding along the lower White River system has prevented those gradual releases over time, as Corps Reservoir Control continues to manage the water to reduce flood crests downstream. Making any “pre-releases” to increase reservoir storage capacity in this situation, while potentially beneficial to some, would only worsen the flooding of others downstream.

It also would not be in accordance with the established guidelines in the approved water control plan for the reservoirs. The current water control plan is comprehensive in nature and attempts to balance benefits throughout the entire White River system. This plan has been in use for many years and was developed through extensive public involvement as well as various perspectives from local, state, and federal entities.

Citizens are advised to stay in close contact with local officials for important updates regarding this situation. Any forecast rains could also cause a rapid return of high White River levels further downstream so property owners should stay abreast of National Weather Service river stage forecasts. For the latest stages go to following link: