Levees along the Missouri River in Sioux City are being put to the test. Woodbury County Emergency Manager Gary Brown says all levees in the area were built to a level of 35 to 37 feet. The river is creeping closer to the top.
“We’ve been running about 34 feet the last few days. We expect the river to go up to somewhere around 35 feet over the weekend. It’ll probably level out in that area, depending on precipitation, but it could fluctuate in both directions,” Brown said. “That’s our best guess, obviously we’re in unchartered territory here.”
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is currently releasing water from the Gavins Point Dam in South Dakota at a rate of 160,000 cubic feet per second. Brown says cities along the Missouri River will be fighting the flood battle all summer.
“We’ve got no choice, it’s not optional,” Brown said. “We’ll have to react to whatever the Corps throws at us and the Corps has to react to whatever mother nature does for them over the next couple months. That’s the game we’re all playing. We’re at the mercy of the weather and we’re at the mercy of the Corps. So, we’ll have to react accordingly.”
The Corps increased the water release rate at Gavins Point this week because of recent rainfall.
See photos of the western Iowa flooding here: www.radioiowa.com/demos/
By Josie Cooper, KSCJ, Sioux City