U.S. Army Corps of Engineers monitor high water at Sayers Dam

Water rushes through Foster Sayers Dam

US Army Corps of Engineers monitor Foster Sayers Dam which is higher than normal but functioning well.
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US Army Corps of Engineers monitor Foster Sayers Dam which is higher than normal but functioning well.

The Foster Joseph Sayers Dam is releasing enough water to fill about two Olympic-size swimming pools per minute, but Dam Safety Program Manager Brian Glock said everything is going according to plan.

Glock and the Baltimore District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers arrived at the dam on Sunday to monitor and prepare for the highest levels since Tropical Storm Agnes in 1972.

Glock said the water levels are about 14 feet above normal and in the top three all-time since the dam was built in 1969.

He also said water is being released at about 3,000 cubic feet per second — about 10 times the amount released during relatively dry periods.

“We remain confident that Sayers Dam will continue to perform as designed and will continue to reduce flood risks to communities downstream,” Baltimore District Commander Col. John Litz said in a press release.

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A few thousands cubic feet per second of water rushes into the stilling basin at Foster Joseph Sayers Dam on Monday, Sept. 17, 2018. Abby Drey adrey@centredaily.com

Tropical Storm Gordon helped fill the dam to about 60 percent capacity, but water receded to about 40 percent before the remnants of Hurricane Florence arrived on Monday.

Dam operators and engineers are measuring the water level, water pressure and outflows downstream 24 hours a day, according to the release.

While the dam is doing its job, Bald Eagle Creek is nearing flood stage, according to the National Weather Service.

The creek was observed to be at 10.63 feet at 3:30 p.m. Monday and flood stage is 11 feet. The forecast, however, calls for the creek to recede to about nine feet as of 4 p.m. Thursday.

The rain added to what was already the wettest summer on record and comes a week after Milesburg residents were evacuated due to flooding. Milesburg and Osceola declared states of emergency as fire crews responded to flooded basements, flooded roadways and stranded vehicles.

The NWS also issued a flash flood watch for northern and southern Centre County, Clearfield County and a dozen other counties in Pennsylvania, beginning at 2 p.m. Monday. It will be in effect through Tuesday morning.