The 7-7-7 Flood of Lake Texoma
Written by David R Jennings   
Friday, 06 July 2007
Lake Texoma Flood

When the Army Corps of Engineers planned Lake Texoma near Denison, Texas in 1944, they were building the largest earthen dam of their era. The lake's surface spreads over 89,000 acres and is still one of the largest man made reservoirs in the world. This mammoth beast of a lake lies only an hour's drive north of Dallas and shares its borders with both Texas and Oklahoma.
Lake Texoma Is Predicted To Overrun Its Spillway Sometime On July 7, 2007
The primary purpose of the lake was, and is, flood control. The Red and Washita Rivers that now feed the lake would regularly flood and spread disaster from North Texas along the Red River to the Gulf of Mexico. Estimates made at the time predicted that the lake, once completed, would reach its flood stage and overrun its spillway only once every hundred years. Engineers were however quickly proven wrong when Texoma flooded in 1957 only a few short years after it had been completed.

Texoma didn't again reach its 640 foot flood stage until 33 years later when in 1990 it overran the spillway and devastated the area below the dam for the second time. The Corps of Engineers, who still manage the lake and dam today, had held back its rising waters to decrease flooding downstream in Arkansas and Louisiana. With similar flooding conditions occurring downstream this year, Texoma has once again been held back and will soon pass the 640 foot level to drive a final nail in the "100 Year Theory".

Denison native, and private pilot, Paul Jennings along with his wife Carol Jennings provided the amazing photos below of Lake Texoma. Mr. Jennings, who recalls watching the '57 flood, pointed out that the Texoma spillway had once been covered with a lush layer of grass, supposedly to help cure and protect the massive concrete structure that comprises the spillway itself. Jennings said, "The '57 flood washed way hundreds of tons of grass and dirt in just minutes!"
Lake Texoma floods are despised by North Texas and Southern Oklahoma residence because any lengthy flood, especially a spillway event, immediately collapses the seasonal tourist traffic to the area.
Although the "100 Year Theory" has been washed away, the more frequent flooding of Texoma is likely not due to faulty predictions of annual rainfall made in the 1940's but rather a man-made result of the lake being used to fulfill its purpose as a flood control reservoir.

For those interested, both local television stations, KXII-TV Sherman and KTEN Denison are showing live feeds of the Lake Texoma Spillway.

Bridge Near Texoma Lodge

Denison Dam Lake Texoma

Texoma Spillway

Comments (0) >>
Write comment

Write the displayed characters

Tag This Article:

Bauart Blog Roll

David Jennings Bio