Spectators flock to Bagnell Dam to see spillgates opened, flash flood warning issued

LAKE OZARK, Mo. -- "It's just phenomenal," said Bailey Myers of Eldon. "It's just unbelievable the amount of water that's coming out of this thing."

Ameren is releasing 26.9 million gallons of water per minute - that's about 449,000 gallons per second - from the Lake of the Ozarks into the Osage River.

Crews have increased the release to match what the Army Corps of Engineers is sending downstream from the Truman Dam.

"Well, it's something definitely to be intimidated by," said Logan Thompson of Russellville. "Water can do a lot of damage, so whenever you can see what we're keeping held back, whenever it does get loose and what it does down stream, it's pretty miraculous."

Even though the Bagnell Dam may not be far from home, many people who live around the Lake of the Ozarks became tourists today to see the sheer power the being released through the spill gates, which aren't even fully opened.

"I've seen it a hundred times probably, and it never gets old," Myers added. "We made plans last night, I read they were open, and we made plans right away to come down and see it."

Some people came to catch more than just a glimpse.

"Sometimes the best fishing to down here on the river is when they're running water like that," Thompson said. "My whole family, we grew up on the river and we do a lot of fishing here. Whenever they open the flood gates, it makes for good fishing."

But, for those who live downstream, these open spill gates could bring flooding problems.

The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood warning for the area downstream of the dam, until late Wednesday night.

And, while the Lake of the Ozarks area saw rain Wednesday, many are praying for the rain to let up, despite more in the long term forecast.

"This water has no where to go," Myers said. "That's one of the reasons we're having so many concerns downstream. This water just can't go anywhere. It's just simply...we're filled to the brim, coming up from Truman and all over the state. I'm hoping it's as least impactful as possible."

Ameren said the spill gates could be open for several weeks.