Raging water releases draw crowds to lakeUPDATED 4:23 AM HST Jun 24, 2014Video Transcript
The water is rising at Saylorville Lake. Crews with the army corps of engineers are monitoring the emergency spillway. Ryan Smith is live there tonight... With a look at how crews are trying to cope with rising waters. we are live on the southside of the lake tonight - A lot of people have been drawn to this spot all afternoon- watching as the water crashes against the concrete barrier - as the dam is pumping out the maximum amount of water - in a very furious fashion. Summertime at Saylorville Lake. The most popular spot isn't on a beach or even in the water. 29.08 "IT'S SCARY." We found dozens of people standing in awe of the rough and raging water pumping through the dam. "IT'S GOING FAST AND IT'S KIND OF ROUGH." The army corps of engineers is releasing 16- thousand cubic feet per second - the maximum output. It's one way to prevent overflowing water and widespread flooding. "OFTEN WHEN THE FLOODING ISN'T IMMINANT PEOPLE WILL KIND OF FORGET ABOUT THOSE THINGS BUT WE CAN'T." Right now - the lake stands at 858 feet above sea level ... But is predicted to reach 867 feet above sea level by the end of the month. At 884 feet above sea level - water would rush over the emergency spillway and turn this plush greenery into a river. "IF THE WATER WOULD GET CLOSER TO THE SPILLWAY, WE WOULD ACTIVATE THE CRESTGATES WHICH WOULD RAISE THE ELEVATION TO ELEVATION 890." The additional 6 feet of protection is provided by a row of steel panels. It's not often they're needed - as a last line of defense - they've been activated twice in 20 years. With the threat of rising waters - the corps spent this afternoon ensuring its crest gates are ready. "THERE'S A LOT THAT GOES INTO EVEN A RELATIVELY SMALL STRUCTURE LIKE THIS IN THE WAY OF CHECKING TIGHTENANCE OF BOLTS, EVERYTHING'S THE WAY IT'S SUPPOSED TO BE, AIR PRESSURE IS CORRECT, NO LEAKS." As of yesterday - the lake was predicted to reach 881 feet above sea level - Remember - that's just a few feet shy of the emergency spillway. The lake's operations manager says that's a reminder of how these predictions are constantly changing.