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Authorities say it’s safe for Fall River-area residents to return home

Fall River dam opened, bringing uncertainty to communities downstream

(May 25, 2019) Fall River reservoir has reached a record level, and now the Army Corp of Engineers are releasing water from the dam. The town of Fall River was voluntarily evacuated as precaution.
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(May 25, 2019) Fall River reservoir has reached a record level, and now the Army Corp of Engineers are releasing water from the dam. The town of Fall River was voluntarily evacuated as precaution.

Greenwood County authorities on Sunday said it’s safe for people living below the Fall River dam to return to their homes and property — a day after record amounts of water released from the reservoir caused widespread flooding.

A Red Cross Shelter in nearby Eureka, where some sought refuge during Saturday’s voluntary evacuation, has been closed, a Facebook post from the Greenwood County Emergency Management said Sunday.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released an unprecedented 36,000 cubic feet of water per second out of Fall River Reservoir over the weekend, causing uncertainty about the safety of residents downstream. With the lake’s height at record levels, Greenwood County Emergency Management director Levi Vinson said many worried the tiny town of Fall River would be inundated.

Luckily, it was spared, he told The Eagle on Saturday.

Authorities were also urging people to stay away from Fall River State Park, a popular boating and camping spot. All campgrounds and day use areas there remained closed Sunday.

So far this month, areas around Fall River have received 15 to 20 inches of rainfall, making it “one of, if not the wettest May on record,” National Weather Service meteorologist Roger Martin said. Between 3 and 6 inches have fallen since Thursday.

More rain is possible over the next few days but likely won’t be heavy, Martin said.

The forecast for Monday — Memorial Day — is dry.

The Kansas Wildlife Parks & Tourism is conducting search and rescue operations at Fall River Lake. (May 25, 2019)

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Amy Renee Leiker has been reporting for The Wichita Eagle since 2010. She covers crime, courts and breaking news and updates the newspaper’s online databases. You can reach her at 316-268-6644. She’s an avid reader and mom of three in her non-work time.

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