Minutes later, about 27,000 cubic feet per second of water rush over the spillway gates and into the downstream areas of the Savannah River. And while water doesn't seem like something we have a shortage of lately, Billy Birdwell tells us this test is to ensure water control at the dam
He explains, “without this dam and all of this water that will be coming down, spilling up behind the dam will be coming down in an uncontrolled way. And that will be devastating to the folks downstream.”
And while this breath taking sight hasn't been seen here since 2007, the Army Corps of Engineers is urging anyone who gets close to this water downstream to tread lightly.
Something Angela Kelly says she's already doing at her home at Water's Edge. She says the deck to her dock is already under water.
“My concern is that it's going to make that go up a foot, two foot more and it's already up 10 foot higher than it's supposed to be,” Kelly says.
The Corps of Engineers says they understand the flooding problems across the area, but this release will help more than it will hurt in the long run a
“We manage this dam, we manage this reservoir and a river as a system. We have storage capacity in reservoirs upstream, we have storage capacity left here at the reservoir at J Strom Thurmond and as we release water going down stream, that increases that storage capacity,” Birdwell says.
The Army Corps of Engineers urges anyone going near the water to pay close attention to the levels, speed and velocity of the water. If you're going out on a boat, they ask that you wear a life jacket.