LAKE OF THE OZARKS, Mo.–The annual winter drawdown is an important event for many property owners in Center Missouri, particularly those with docks that might be affected by the changing water levels. While the changing water levels are necessary to store water for flood control in the spring, as well as supply the community’s electrical needs, it can also cause significant and expensive damage to water structures: the lake can drop as much as nine feet from its normal level of 660 feet, but water releases can strike at almost any time, resulting in swift currents and sudden increases in water levels. This, combined with ice damage and other common problems, can make winter a costly season for Lake residents.
According to the daily Ameren Lake Level forecast on December 1, the lake is experiencing a fairly normal winter thus far: the dam’s river level was measured at 551.5 ft, and the lake level was found to be 658.5 ft, the same as the previous day and less than two feet below average. Because of this, Ameren’s forecast projected normal winter drawdowns, with an expected spring time low of 634 ft. However, the dam was reportedly issuing a minimum flow discharge of 900 cubic feet per second, which was expected to increase before returning to normal on Wednesday, December 3, potentially creating rising water levels.
[BUSINESS QUOTE Regarding how Winter 2014-15 compares to previous years/ what locals should expect in the months to come.]
In order to avoid damage, dock owners are advised to follow a number of basic tips to winterize their structures. Firstly, all docks should be tested to ensure that they can safely rise and fall with the water levels: residents should check to make sure the dock isn’t pinned or hampered by any stumps or objects, and inspect all dock cables and bolts for loose parts or rust. Water lines should likewise be drained, and boat lifts should be raised to ensure that there are no bubbles and that the craft is holding air. Secondly, dock owners should make sure that they have the proper deicer and that the machine is working properly: for example, agitators are typically meant for deeper waters, as they are designed to bring up warmer water from the depths to prevent ice from forming. In contrast, bubblers are made for shallower waters because they use compressed air to disturb the water, preventing ice from forming in areas that lack a warm undercurrent.
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Once these steps are taken, homeowners can also stay informed of developing changes by calling Ameren’s Lake Level forecast, a recorded message which is updated every morning at 9 a.m. to share projected daily water releases and lake levels for the next three days. The forecast can be reached at (573-365-9205). By taking these steps, homeowners can stay abreast of changes that could harm their property and hinder their recreation plans for warmer months, such as fishing and swimming. Studies show that almost 48 million people participated in freshwater, saltwater and/or fly fishing in the United States in 2012; as the Lake of the Ozarks becomes known as a premier summertime destination, these numbers of eager fisherman might make it challenging for area residents without working docks to take advantage of the Lake’s plentiful bass, crappie, bluegill and more. Don’t let the rising and falling water levels keep you from doing what you love this winter! Ask yourself: is your dock ready for the winter drawdowns? Find out more at this site. Read more about this topic at this link. See this reference for more.