Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Flood of 2019: Two Barges Allided with the Webbers Falls Lock & Dam on May 23rd



Similar to the Marseilles Dam Accident, loose barges allided with the dam. In this case it was evidently two barges that broke loose from their moorings rather than four barges that broke loose from a tow. The entire town of Webbers Falls was already flooded.

Screenshot @ -0:15
Two barges on the swollen Arkansas River in Oklahoma broke free and slammed into a dam, quickly sinking under the force of the rushing water. Officials have evacuated homes in the area due to flooding.
[The footage at normal speed]

Another video (source)
Brandon Phillips: That was Weber falls on the Arkansas river in 2019. It was not extremely dangerous. These dams are over built and designed to take an impact like that. The city emergency management director and police chief scared this entire town and forced in evacuation that was completely unnecessary.

The barges were carrying fertilizer. I-40 was evidently closed while the two barges were loose. After they hit the dam, I-40 was reopened. [NewsOn6-23]

safe_image for Second Barge Removed From Webbers Falls Dam - The Waterways Journal

This news report explained that years ago barge traffic took out a pillar and some spans of I-40 and there were fatalities. That explains why they now shut down the bridge if barges are loose.
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William Klier, cropped
Note that this view also shows the Tainter gates are wide open. As I've described several times, but have not been able to show, the gates become almost horizontal and are out of the river's flow.

As the barges were floating downriver, evidently the news outlets were going nus about whether or not they would break the dam. And then they were so relieved when the dam was still standing after the barges hit. The foundations are built to withstand the pressure of the water when the gates are closed. Odds are, they are going to survive. But, as with the Marseilles Dam, the gates are another matter. Since these gates were all the way up, I expect they won't find any damage after they are inspected.
Michael Carter-1, cropped
Another view of the Tainter gates being wide open.
Kevin Lane

Michael Carter-2, cropped

Michael Carter-3, cropped

Michael Carter-4, cropped

Michael Carter-5, cropped
This overview of Oklahoma flooding is where I learned that Webbers Falls, which is downstream from the dam, was already flooded before the barge allision.
KOTV Screenshot @ 1:13
[All of Webbers Falls. OK, is flooded and could be for several weeks.]

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Update: is this video redundant? I don't have the time to check.

1 comment:

  1. Ugh, two barge loads of fertilizer will do wonders for the river. I suppose it will all end-up in the delta and cause more algae.