Army Corps of Engineers officials are confident the upper Missouri River dams can handle the high water levels of this spring, keeping the river open for navigation with minimal flooding downstream.
Water levels are high on the upper Missouri River reservoirs, but enough capacity remains to reduce flooding while maintaining barge traffic.
Hydraulic Engineer Kevin Stamm with the Army Corps of Engineers says heavy rain is giving way to snow melt.
“Above-normal rainfall in May and early mountain snowmelt was the cause of above-average May runoff,” Stamm says during a conference call sponsored by The U. S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Missouri River Basin Water Management Division. “Runoff in the upper basin is forecast to be about average in June and below average in July as the remaining mountain snowpack melts.”
In technical terms, runoff in the Missouri River Basin above Sioux City, Iowa, was 4.5 million acre feet during May, 136% percent of average, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The 2016 calendar year runoff forecast is 25.3 MAF, which is the historic average.
Kevin Grode with the Corps expects a full eight-month navigation season downriver on the Missouri with little chance of significant flooding.
“We will continue to monitor conditions in the basin and be prepared to make necessary adjustment in response to rainfall events, particularly in portions of the basin where in the soil moisture is much wetter than normal,” Gode says.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:40]