The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced this week higher-than-average releases from all Corps dams on the northern portion of the Missouri River, including Gavins Point Dam in the Dakotas, will continue through the rest of November.
“Gavins Point releases will remain near 80,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) to evacuate all stored flood waters in all our reservoirs are emptied prior to the 2020 runoff season,” John Remus, chief of the Corps’ Missouri River Basin Water Management Division, said in a news release. “This release rate is more than twice the average release for this time of the year.”
The forecast from the National Weather Service calls for above-average precipitation for the remainder of the fall in this area and more adjustments in releases may be necessary, Remus said.
“Failure to evacuate the stored floodwater will lead to increased flood risk in 2020,” he said.
Based on the latest reservoir studies, Corps officials said, Gavins Point releases will be reduced from 80,000 cfs to 22,000 cfs during December, reaching the winter release rate by the middle of December.
Lower release rates must be set during winter months because the Missouri River ices over in the northern reaches limiting the amount of water that can flow beneath the ice, Remus added.