River should crest Sunday

“It’s going to be a delicate time for those who live and work along the Missouri River for the next several months.”

That’s according to the hydrologist for the National Weather Service in St. Louis.

“The upper Missouri River basin got between 5 to 8 inches of rain over the past seven days, starting in Montana and going through South Dakota,” said Mark Fuchs.

Since Wednesday, the river has gone from around 19 feet to over 25 feet on Friday in Jefferson City. The latest forecast called for the river to crest just above 26 feet early Sunday and start gradually going down, possibly reaching the flood stage of 23 feet by Tuesday or Wednesday of next week.

Fuchs said the dam at Gavins Point, which is near Yankton, S.D., holds particular interest.

“The Corps of Engineers announced this week that they’ll be releasing 110,000 cubic feet of water per second from that reservoir, but that’s a month away,” he said. “That doesn’t bode well for the summer because it raises the base level of the Missouri for an extended period. It will take a long time to get rid of all that water.”

Fuchs said the upper Missouri basin had an “incredible” amount of snow this past winter, so the reservoirs filled up in a hurry.

“All that snow hasn’t completely melted,” he said. “The reservoirs can’t take in any more water. Although average rainfall here would still give us occasional flooding, bigger rainfall events could make things interesting along the Missouri.”


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