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MIDLOTHIAN(CBSDFW.COM) – Crews at Padera Lake in Midlothian, are playing beat the clock to ease concerns before it rains again.
Nearby, Tim Wallace, manager of a Kreher Steel Warehouse, says he hasn’t seen the lake this high since 1989, and is concerned about their property. “We’re obviously very concerned about having either six inches or six feet of water. We don’t know.”
So Wallace says they’ve been stacking the steel at their warehouse along Highway 287 to make it heavy enough that it won’t float away if a wall of water heads their way.
Concerns began early Wednesday morning, when crews noticed water topping what’s called a coffer dam, which was built to allow workers to continue rehabilitating the actual dam.
Authorities notified nearby homeowners there was a voluntary evacuation order because they thought there was imminent danger the dam could fail. About 25 homeowners in the area evacuated overnight to be safe.
Midlothian’s police chief Carl Smith says, “We saw water coming over and it was 2 o’clock in the morning so as wet as it was, we couldn’t put people on the dam to evaluate it.”
But after the sun came up, crews evaluated the situation and realized the dam and the coffer dam are in fine shape. So they are now trying to lower the water at the coffer dam. They’re using a crane to dig an emergency relief channel to pump out 15,000 gallons of water per minute.
Chief Smith says, “We’re confident we’re going to drop the lake levels down by three feet by this afternoon before it rains again. We’re also confident we’ll keep lake levels down with that emergency relief channel that they created.”
As a result of all the work, Chief Smith says he believes the risk of a breach and impacts downstream will be greatly reduced.
That’s a relief for Tim Wallace. “That’s good, but we still have to do what we have to do.”
Midlothian’s police chief says crews will monitor the water levels at the dam around the clock.
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