Conowingo Dam Reopens Flood Gates, USCG Warns of Debris

 Photo: U.S. Geological Survey

Photo: U.S. Geological Survey

On the heels of the rainiest November in history, a dozen flood gates at the Conowingo Dam were opened at the end of the month. And now, the Coast Guard is warning boaters to use caution.

Starting on November 28, Conowingo Dam began operating under “spill conditions,” opening up to 12 flood crest gates. As of December 5, only three gates were open.

The Coast Guard issued an advisory to mariners about possible debris in the Susquehanna River and upper Bay in the near future:

"LARGE AMOUNTS OF DEBRIS AND LOGS ARE POSSIBLE AND BUOYS MAY BE
LOW RIDING DUE TO INCREASED CURRENT. ALL MARINERS ARE  REQUESTED TO
USE EXTREME CAUTION WHILE TRANSITING THE AREA."

USCG reminds everyone to use extreme caution navigating the area in the weeks following the opening.

The National Weather Service (NWS) confirmed what we all felt: November ended much wetter and colder than normal. According to NWS Baltimore/Washington, “it was the wettest November on record for both Baltimore and Washington, and also the wettest meteorological fall (Sep-Nov) for Baltimore, second wettest for Washington.”

Flood crest gates have been opened numerous times since last summer because of heavy rains, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Maryland Department of Natural Resources have worked steadily through the fall to clear large debris hazards up and down the Bay.

In the wake of the November flood gate openings, Bay Bulletin readers have reported seeing debris on the Magothy and Middle Rivers.

-Meg Walburn Viviano


Bay Bulletin