Cheney Lake releases excess water Wednesday morning

May 22, 2019 - 7:46 am

The Bureau of Reclamation notified Sedgwick County that, because the level of Cheney Lake continues to rise, it will be necessary to open the flood gates to lower the reservoir. Even with this release, the forecast is for Cheney Lake to reach a record height of 1,430.5 feet. At 6 a.m. Wednesday morning, May 22, the gates opened gradually until completely open by early Wednesday afternoon.

The released water will flow first along the 15 miles of the North Fork of the Ninnescah River from below the dam to the confluence with the South Fork. This portion will overflow by 8 a.m. Wednesday. The extent of the flooding in the north branch from this release is presently undetermined. This channel’s normal water capacity is 1,500 cubic feet per second and it will have about 4,200 cubic feet per second flowing through when the gates are opened.

The impact in areas farther downstream near Clearwater, Peck, and into Sumner County will be better known once the River Forecast Center issues an updated outlook for the lower portion of the river. 

In general, people who live along the river, especially in areas prone to flooding, should take appropriate precautions now, and be prepared to evacuate to higher ground if necessary.  This certainly will cause additional or prolonged road flooding along the river.  Never drive around barricades, and even if no barricades are present, do not drive into water-covered roadways. 

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