Above-normal runoff is expected over the coming weeks in the Missouri River system, but officials with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers say no flooding is anticipated. Jody Farhat, who heads the Corps’ Missouri River Basin Water Management Office in Omaha, says more water will be pouring into the waterway but it shouldn’t cause a problem as it’s been so dry.
Farhat says, “Runoff this year is expected to be above-average and flood control remains our primary consideration, however, drought persists across much of the lower basin and storage in the Missouri River main stem reservoir system remains below normal due to the 2012 drought.” Kevin Stom, a Corps engineer in the water management office, provides more details about the expected run off. “The 2014 calendar year runoff forecast is 31.7-million acre feet, which is 125% of normal, above Sioux City, Iowa,” Stom says. “April runoff of 2.8-million acre feet, or 96% of normal, is 0.6-million acre feet below the April forecast.”
Corps engineer Mike Swenson says they have plenty of storage space in the upstream reservoirs to handle additional water from runoff. “Reservoir system storage is currently at 54.6-million acre feet and is 1.5-million acre feet below the top of the carryover multiple use zone,” Swenson says. “This 1.5-million acre feet of storage is in addition to the 16.3-million acre feet of flood control storage that is normally available at the start of the runoff season.”
Swenson says releases from Gavins Point Dam have been increased to 30-thousand cubic feet per second, and release levels will go higher as needed later in the season to support downstream navigation.
By Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton