Despite the wet spring across much of the Midwest, there’s still the potential for drought.
Doug Kluck, a climatologist with NOAA in Kansas City, says most of the Missouri River Basin is far from drought, though some potential dry
spots are starting to emerge in the upper basin. Kluck says western Iowa shouldn’t have anything to worry about, at least not yet.
“It’s not surprising this time of year, droughts can happen really fast,” Kluck says. “Sometimes, they call them flash droughts, if it gets really hot and winds pick up. Those are usually agriculturally-based impacts.”
Kluck says the El Nino effect on the weather has passed now with a La Nina pattern likely, meaning, it will be hotter and wetter than normal over much of the region in the months to come.
“As far as predictions, right now we’re slipping into what we call a Neutral Tropical Pacific with La Nina likely developing a little later this summer,” Kluck says. “Really, the impacts from that La Nina tend not to be felt until late fall.”
Barges should be running all summer on the Missouri, according to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers hydraulic engineer Joel Knofcynski. He says the upper Missouri River reservoirs -do- have enough capacity to handle the heavy rainfall this spring and the current heavy snow melt.
“The service level for the remainder of the navigation season and the navigation season length are based on the July 1st system storage check,” Knofcynski says. “Under all three simulations, flow support for navigaton would be full service and a full eight-month navigation season would be provided.”
Water levels are high on the upper Missouri River reservoirs, but enough capacity remains to reduce flooding while maintaining barge traffic. He notes, there could be some minor-to-moderate flooding along the Missouri River, but nothing that poses a serious threat to property.
Reporting by Brent Martin