Reclamation continues to ramp up releases from McKay Dam

Media Contact: Michael Coffey, 208-378-5020, mcoffey@usbr.gov

For Release: April 12, 2019

PENDLETON, Ore. – The Bureau of Reclamation will begin incrementally increasing flood control releases out of McKay Dam in response to updated weather forecasts from the National Weather Service. Conditions are wetter than average with this being the fifth largest runoff currently during April. Outflows from the dam will be ramped up according to the schedule below:

  • At 2:00pm local time, releases will increase to 1,600 cubic feet per second,
  • At 4:00pm local time, releases will increase to 1,800 cfs,
  • At 6:00pm local time, releases are currently scheduled to increase to 2,000 cfs.

These flood control releases are designed to create space in the reservoir to accommodate possible future precipitation or other circumstances that could cause adjustments to the reservoir such as a continued pattern of wet weather conditions.

Releases out of McKay Dam are subject to change based on the changing spring time weather conditions, and updated inflow forecasts for McKay Creek.

McKay Creek flows through the neighborhoods of southwest Pendleton, Ore. Minor flooding is expected to impact several homes and backyards that are adjacent to McKay Creek with the increase in releases. Reclamation officials are advising residents to be aware of the potential danger associated with McKay Creek flows, and to avoid McKay Creek and take necessary precautions. The water is cold and can be deep and fast in various locations. Extreme caution should be used near the river banks.

Reclamation remains in close coordination with the Umatilla County Sheriff, the City of Pendleton and the National Weather Service on any expected change in McKay Dam releases.

For real-time McKay Creek flow information from McKay Dam, visit https://www.usbr.gov/pn/hydromet/rtgraph.html?list=mcko%20q&daily=mcko%20qd.

Additional information can be found at the Umatilla County Emergency Management Office website at https://public.alertsense.com/SignUp/?regionid=1268, and the City of Pendleton website at https://pendleton.or.us/.

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Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier in the United States, and the nation's second largest producer of hydroelectric power. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits. Visit our website at https://www.usbr.gov and follow us on Twitter @USBR.