Four to six inches of rain between midnight and 6 a.m. Wednesday forced the Osage out of its banks and flooded the town and surrounding region, closing Route V — the main road to the area.
According to Miller County 911 Director Michael Arnold, all low-lying areas on the banks of the Osage River including the cities of Bagnell and Tuscumbia, were advised to seek higher ground as Ameren Missouri opened the spill gates at Bagnell Dam late Wednesday morning.
According to Ameren Missouri, Lake of the Ozarks reached full pool about 6 a.m., and the staff wanted to open Bagnell Dam’s floodgates at 8 a.m. However, Lake Ozark fire and police departments advised them to wait until the low-lying areas on the Osage River were given warning to evacuate.
Presiding Commissioner Tom Wright declared a state of emergency for Miller County, and Gov. Jay Nixon deployed 50 National Guardsmen to assist local authorities in flooded areas throughout the Mid-Missouri Ozarks region. He also deployed marine operations troopers and a rescue helicopter to assist local emergency responders.
The following roads were closed due to flooding in Miller County:
• Missouri 52 between Missouri 17 and Route PP near Tuscumbia;
• Route A between route 17 and Route 42;
• Route K over Little Traven Creek;
• Route V, off U.S. 54 to Bagnell.
• Missouri 42, east of Iberia to Route TT and Route A, west of St. Anthony to Route TT.
In Camden County, Route T at Route H and Route BB at Baranowski Drive were also reported closed.
Lake Ozark Police Chief Mark Maples said an officer who was responding Wednesday to a local house fire possibly caused by a lightning strike at about 4 a.m. found a low-water area in the Osage National Golf Resort community was not passable and firefighters had to take a less direct route.
Maples said he received numerous calls between 4:30-5:30 a.m. of water over roads and debris blocking the road. He also said numerous rocks fell on the north side of the dam, making travel difficult as drivers crossed the dam and headed toward Route W in Lake Ozark.
“We checked all the lower areas along the river and warned residents of flash flooding concerns to include the Bagnell Dam Campground and the Riverview RV Park, and a few other areas,” he said.
Spectators watched as creeks and hill water run-off flooded the Osage River with water creeping up the floodgates of the dam. Once the dam floodgates were opened wide, onlookers even blocked traffic flow.
The Missouri Department of Conservation also closed the Osage River access area below Bagnell Dam because of concerns of fast-rising water.
Floodwater run-off on U.S. 54 early Wednesday morning caused several vehicles to skid off the road. In Bagnell, a Lake Ozark Fire Protection District fire truck was stuck in the water and flooded its engine.
In Tuscumbia, the Osage River stood a few feet from the roadway before the dam’s floodgates opened. On Route 17 west of Tuscumbia, Saline Creek was also flooded. MoDOT employees assisted in excavating ditches and trying to control run off that was filtering water, mud and debris over Missouri 17. Saline Road, which runs alongside Saline Creek, was also completely under water in many areas.
Individuals living along the rivers and tributaries were warned to remain vigilant to the river’s actions and to keep a close eye the weather conditions.
According to the Osage Beach city administrator, the extreme rainfall over the past few days has caused damage to the Osage Beach City Park, which is located off Hatchery Road in Osage Beach. It currently is closed until further notice with no one allowed in except city employees.
The American Red Cross set up a shelter Wednesday at Christ the King Lutheran Church on Bagnell Dam Strip in Lake Ozark for victims of the recent floods. The shelter will remain open until flooding in the lake area recedes.