The Missouri River at Omaha.

With winter just getting underway today , we’re a long way from the spring run-off season, but forecasters are trying to look ahead and give Iowa farmers a chance to plan.

Doug Kluck, the central region climate service director at the National Weather Service, says the first indications show runoff into the Missouri River basin should not be an issue next spring.

Kluck says, “If the forecasts hold true in terms of greater-than-normal precipitation and below-normal temperatures in the upper basin, if those come true — and they’re only slight probabilities pointing in that direction — I would say the runoff season should be relatively good.” He notes that upper basin is the far upper basin, meaning, Montana and Wyoming. Kluck says mountain snowpack is currently behind normal.

“As of right now, we’re a little bit behind the curve in the upper portions of the Missouri and the Platte River basin,” Kluck says. “It’s really tough to say. We’re not very far into the snow accumulation season, especially in the mountains. That can last into May in some places, so there’s a lot of season to go at this point.”

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says the six main stem reservoirs of the Missouri River basin are expected to have the full 16.3 million acre feet of flood storage available by spring.

(By Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton)