The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers increased water releases from Gavins Point Dam in South Dakota on Wednesday and Thursday in response to increased runoff into the Missouri River above the dam, according to a news release. However, current forecasts for the Missouri River do not indicate major flooding is anticipated in the Capital City.
On Tuesday relases from Gavins Point were 17,000 cubic feet per second. By Thursday afternoon, they were increased to 60,000 cfs. Releases may be further increased over the next few days, depending on the extent of inflows into Gavins Point.
The runoff in the drainage area between Fort Randall Dam and Gavins Point is very high, according to Corps officials, and continues to increase, due to rapid plains snowmelt and heavy rain on frozen, wet soils. The area directly upstream Gavins Point continues to receive heavy rain.
“We know there are communities experiencing flooding, or nearing that condition, along the Missouri downstream of our dams,” Chief of the Corps’ Missouri River Water Management Division John Remus said. “We are managing releases from Gavins Point as judiciously as we can in order to lessen the impact downstream.”
There is very little storage capacity behind Gavins Point, forcing the Corps to release much of the water that enters the reservoir, Remus said.
Releases from Fort Randall, the Missouri dam immediately upstream of Gavins Point, were reduced to zero cfs Wednesday and are expected to remain there for the next several days.
“We strongly advise everyone along the Missouri River to maintain awareness of local conditions and changing river levels,” Remus said.
Corps districts in Omaha and Kansas City have activated their emergency operation centers to support local communities and emergency managers with local flood responses. Impact to local infrastructure, to include levees, should be reported to local emergency officials.
The Corps is working the National Weather Service to monitor conditions. As of Thursday afternoon, the Missouri River in Jefferson City was more than 20 feet and was forecasted to reach nearly 25 feet by Sunday afternoon, which is 2 feet above flood stage.