Rising water levels continue at Tuttle Creek Lake due to Nebraska flooding

The Tuttle Creek Dam impounds Tuttle Creek Lake, which serves as a water reservoir. The lake is currently facing rising water levels due to excessive flooding upriver in Nebraska. (Archive Photo by George Walker | Collegian Media Group)

As of 8 a.m. Tuesday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reported that Tuttle Creek Lake, located north of Manhattan, was 29.56 feet above its normal water line, currently at 1,104.56 feet above sea level and rising.

The lake has been rising since March 9, according to a release from the Corps of Engineers.

From the same release: “Currently, the lake level is forecasted to rise near an elevation of 1,113.0 over the next two weeks. Several factors impact this, including additional precipitation at the basin and how quickly downstream conditions recede, so this estimate could change.”

With extreme flooding occurring now in the neighboring state of Nebraska and other parts of the Midwest, Manhattan’s local lake is affected more “indirectly,” said Brian McNulty, Tuttle Creek Lake operations project manager.

In response, outflow has been reduced to a minimum to prevent from adding water to already high or flooded areas downstream.

McNulty said the Big Blue River is a primary source for the extra water coming into Tuttle Creek Lake at this time. Tuttle Creek’s basin extends up toward Minden, Nebraska, and east of York, Nebraska.

“It’s a triangular-shaped basin with Manhattan on the southern end,” McNulty said.

Floods will continue to have a widespread effect on water levels during the next week, McNulty said, and some oversaturated areas in the Kansas City district connected to the Missouri River will be impacted for the remainder of 2019 because of flooding effects like infrastructure damage.

“We know there’s going to be an extended recovery,” McNulty said about the district.

The Corps of Engineers also said most of the Tuttle Creek Cove and Stockdale Parks will be delayed for opening until April 30. They were previously scheduled to open April 15.

“The county has closed some county and township roads,” McNulty said. “Obviously, all the boat ramps are underwater.”

McNulty said public safety is their number one priority, and his message for students was to remember how to safely handle flooded roadways: “Turn around. Don’t drown.”

The Corps of Engineers updates its Facebook page daily with lake information.