Lake Roosevelt is being held at a level about 47 feet below the full mark while maintnenace is completed on the drum gates that hold the water back when the lake is full.
The Bureau of Reclamation, which operates Grand Coulee Dam, reports the lake will likely remain below 1,255 feet above sea level until May 10.
The water forecast for the Columbia River drainage above Grand Coulee Dam, from April to August this year, is estimated to 82.5 percent of normal, so the maximum level allowed for flood control right now would actually be 1,283.3 feet, less than 7 feet below spilling over.
But such flood control elevations are the maximum elevations allowed to ensure enough room in the lake for the spring runoff. Actual elevations may be lower “based on power demand, unforeseen power emergencies, changes in weather events, maintenance on the dam, etc,” the bureau explains on its website.
Visitors using Instagram are always posting how amazed they are when they see Grand Coulee Dam.
“It amazes me how humans built this large, amazing structure more than 80 years ago!” wrote @lishlo this morning in a public post.
The Bureau of Reclamation has produced a top quality documentary on the building of Grand Coulee Dam to show you the amazing story behind the immense effort, the big thinking, innovation and, yes, even politics it took. If you want to visit it, you’ll appreciate it even more if you understand the whole story, so we’ll post the video here, which you can also watch on a big screen in comfortable seats at the Visitor Center when you get here.
This site augments and updates our once-a-year Grand Coulee Dam Visitors’ Guide, which you can see on your computer or smartphone on this site. It’s always online here. And you can always find it in the column at left under “Flip through the print Visitors’ Guide.
It may not be a patriotic duty, but it certainly is a patriotic privilege to attend the Festival of America this Friday and Saturday, July 4-5, 2014, at the park below the Visitor Center.
For the complete schedule, see The Star’s Festival of America special section below. Or pick one up at any store or the Chamber of Commerce’s booth in the park.
There’s a little bit of everything for everyone and a whole lot of fun for the lot, in the two-day celebration.
The festival offers free music, food, a craft fair, a new laser light show and on Friday night, fireworks over Grand Coulee Dam.
The craft and food fair kicks off each day from 11 a.m. and continues to 9:45 p.m.
Free, live music on both days starting at 5 p.m. and going until 9:30 p.m.
Fireworks will light up the sky over Grand Coulee Dam at 10:30 on July 4.
With Lake Roosevelt about 4 feet from being full, the Bureau of Reclamation expects the lake to rise starting July 3 by up to a half foot each day through the weekend.
Filling the lake lifts accumulated debris off the shores and into the water where it can be dangerous to boaters.
The Bureau of Reclamation is advising people camping along the Lake Roosevelt shoreline over the July 4 weekend to be aware of potential dangers that could exist due to rapidly rising lake levels.
“When camping along the shoreline, it is recommended that tents and other belongings be kept well away from the water’s edge,” said Public Affairs Officer Lynne Brougher. “Although the lake is a popular vacation spot, it is also a working reservoir that supplies water for hydroelectric facilities at Grand Coulee Dam which can result in rapid fluctuations.”
Brougher says campsites that are too close to the water’s edge could potentially become flooded and boats that are not properly anchored or secured could drift out into the lake and become a safety hazard.
Reclamation must adhere to the court-ordered 2008/2010 FCRPS Biological Opinion requiring the lake to be at the full pool elevation of 1,290 feet above sea level between late June and early July. It was at 1,286 feet above sea level Tuesday evening.