Crowd gathers to see spillway test at J. Strom Thurmond Dam

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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is working to make sure the J. Strom Thurmond Dam is working the way it should.

They were out testing the spillways earlier Wednesday afternoon.

“For anybody that hasn’t seen one of these, these things are spectacular. The gates open, the water rushes out, the temperature off of the water will drop about 10 degrees Fahrenheit, so you’ll feel this nice, cold breeze coming off of the river,” said Billy Birdwell, the Senior Public Affairs Specialist for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Several people gathered at the dam to catch a glimpse of the spectacular sight.

“We’re gonna watch them open the flood gates on this dam, which I’ve never seen before. Just see what kind of cloud it creates, how big of a waterfall it is,” said Chip Faulkner.

Caden and Kylie were hoping to see all 22 of the spill ways open.

As for Graci Sizemore, she says she was there because she just loves water.

“I just thought it was crazy because all the power coming out and you could feel the wind because of the water,” said Nelson Maddux.

“I’m up in town on a family vacation at a local campground and we heard from the community about the dam opening and we were excited to come check it out,” said David Alvarez.

“We are so excited. The people get to come out. They get to experience something they don’t really see that often. They also get to see the Corps of Engineers doing its work, showing that we are ready and prepared to to handle high rain events, high water events, and to help eliminate and restrict the flooding that would happen downstream,” said Billy Birdwell.


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