John Redmond dam flow increased putting homes in Burlington under water

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BURLINGTON, Kan. (WIBW) -- Millions of gallons of water are pouring through the gates of the John Redmond reservoir dam, as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers open dam gates even wider.

John Redmond reservoir dam (WIBW/Shawn Wheat)

At it's peak on Wednesday, over 170,000 gallons a second were being pushed out of the dam gates.

"We’ve got a lot of water coming in, and we’ve got to manage that to get that water downstream. We’ve got a certain level of the lake that’s the top of flood pool," said Eugene Goff with the Army Corps of Engineers.

The surge will push water levels even higher along the Neosho River, in Burlington. The people who live there are bracing for the influx, stacking sand bags to hold back the water and helping homeowners get their valuables out of houses in low-lying areas.

"We live somewhat close to the river right there, and it might get up close to us," said Burlington resident, Alex Fort.

“How high the water will really get, we don’t know for sure. We’re in uncharted territory,” Russel Stukey, Coffey & Woodson County Emergency Management, said with worry.

The agency is urging anyone who lives in flood prone areas to evacuate and take along any important belongs. Those who do leave their homes are asked to contact the Coffey Co. Sheriff's Office at 620-364-2123, to they can account for who has evacuated and who has not.

At one point, they had to call out their water rescue team.

"Somebody down towards LeRoy that lives out in the country along the river that was warned to get out, and didn’t get out, decided he didn’t want to get out. So, the water rescue team took the boat out to get him out of his trailer," Stukey explained.

The Red Cross has opened a shelter at the Allen Co. Community College Red Barn, 1801 N. Cottonwood, in Iola, for people needing a place to go.

The Corps of Engineers will increase the flow of water from the Cottonwood and Neosho River. High rain has flooded those waterways and it all empties into the reservoir. The lake is so full, it has flooded all of the campgrounds ahead of the Memorial Day weekend, closing the lake.