Lake levels might hit winter lows by mid-January

It's that time of year, again.

Ameren Missouri advises dock owners at Lake of the Ozarks to prepare for the annual winter drawdown. The utility company will start dropping the lake level around the first of the year to make room for next year's spring rains.

The lake is currently at 656.7 feet (above sea level). The lake is showing a slight increase in the water level for the time being. That will change as the drawdown begins.

The company recommends property owners take appropriate measures to protect their docks from the lower water levels and other winter conditions that routinely occur at this time of year.

Ameren normally lowers the lake by several feet during the winter months to provide increased water storage capacity for flood control during the spring rainy season.

Generally, the lake reaches a target seasonal low of about 654 feet (above sea level) by mid-February. However, this year due to the drought conditions this summer, the lake may be at the target low by mid-January.

Ameren's goal will be to have the lake back up to 660 feet or full pool by Memorial Day.

Lake elevations down to 651 feet—9 feet below full reservoir—are possible during the winter season. Ameren's federal license permits the level to go as low as 645 feet in an emergency.

Ameren provides a recording of lake level information—updated daily on weekdays—at (573) 365-9205. In addition, hourly information is now available on the Ameren Web site at:

Ameren suggests to...
• Disconnect hinges linking docks and seawalls or piers to allow the entire structures to follow the water level down.
• Lengthen cables to permit docks to drop as the lake level drops.
• During any absences from the property, ask nearby neighbors to watch the dock or retain a local boat dealer or dock builder to care for the property during the winter season.
• Use “bubblers” or other anti-icing devices to help protect docks from ice damage.