By Forrest Saunders, Multimedia Journalist - email
NEAR YANKTON, S.D. (KTIV) -
Last summer, when 160,000 cubic feet roared from Gavins Point Dam each second, Larry Hames was there to see it.
"Just amazing, the water was almost all the way up and now look how far down it is," said Hames.
It's down because the dam is shut down. The Army Corps cut water flow from 25,000 cfs to zilch Wednesday. No water from the spillway. No water from the power plant. A first in about 30 years.
"Just hard to believe the difference it really is," said Hames.
Flows were cut for eight hours while crews worked. But its effect to the Missouri's water level will be felt for days.
In the Yankton area, levels will drop about eight feet. About a day later, the lower levels will reach Sioux City. Because of recent rain, they wont be as severe. Corps officials estimate a drop of two to two and a half feet.
Sioux City's Coast Guard Auxiliary says that's enough, that boaters should stay off.
"Late Thursday night up to noon Friday is probably a good time to do something else than boat," said Doug Potts with the Guard.
Potts says low water will make it hard for folks to put boats in the water. Plus, those in the water will have more hazards to watch for.
"You get lower, it exposes more sand bars, more snags, more things in the water you could run into and hit. You or your boat," said Potts.
No water from Gavins Point may be a hazard down stream. But still a sight to see, and a welcome sight, for someone like Hames.
"It's a significant difference from what it was here last year. No question about that," said Hames.
Gavins Point Dam was built in the 50's. Officials say, if properly maintained, it can last for 200 years.
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