The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers predicts several waterways in Nebraska and elsewhere will flood this spring, based on current snowpack conditions in the Missouri River basin.
Hydrologist Kevin Low, in the Corps’ Omaha office, says the upper basin snowpack varies.
“The Upper Missouri above Fort Peck is below average, the Yellowstone is above average and both North and South Platte headwaters have above-average snowpack,” Low says. “By this point in the winter, we’d normally have went through a bit over 60% of the seasonal peak snow-water accumulation period, so being over halfway, we still could see significant changes with this mountain snowpack.”
Low says with the condition of the current snowpack, rivers in the region will go beyond their banks this spring in Nebraska, Montana, Iowa and the Dakotas. The list includes the lower reach of the North Platte in Nebraska and some of the smaller streams in southeastern Nebraska.
Low says there has already been some flooding of tributaries due to ice jams, which isn’t uncommon at this time of year.
“Ice jamming has been reported along the Madison, Big Horn and Yellowstone rivers in Montana, and along the lower reach of the North Platte River in Nebraska,” Low says. “No significant impacts have been reported to date in connection with these ice jams.”
The Corps’ forecast includes above-average run-off into the Missouri River basin for February, March and April.
By Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton