Image courtesy of the Army Corps of Engineers

As Gavins Point Dam prepares to release violent amounts of water into the Missouri River, cities and towns downstream brace for flooding. According to Colonel Tony Hoffman, Commander of the Kansas City District, Corps of Engineers will begin releasing 140,000 cfs from Gavins Point Dam Wednesday.  “We have 1.2 million sandbags, 133,000 have been issued in the last 24 hours.  Seven pumps are available.  We’ve issued two in the last 24 hours and we’ve got one sandbag on hand.  Contracts are in place to provide additional pumps and sand bag filling machines if required.”

Brian Korty with the Hydrometeorological Prediction Center (HPC) said the weather pattern, that has been affecting the upper Missouri River Valley, is moving out of the way.  “Unfortunately on the heels of this system we have another one that is dropping in the area.  We expect a half inch to one inch of rain across the northern portion of the Basin.  In the southern portion, specifically around southern Iowa, northern Missouri, possibly southeast of Nebraska, we could see a series of convective events.  If that happens there could be localized areas that could get three to five inches of rain,” Korty said.

Korty adds that another system will trek across the area into early next week. Boonville at the Missouri River is under a flood warning through Sunday evening. The National Weather Service has released flooding totals along the Missouri River.

In the past few weeks, the upper Missouri basin has received nearly a year`s worth of rainfall. In addition, snow pack runoff entering the upper portion of the river system is 140 percent of normal. These conditions have resulted in Missouri basin reservoirs across eastern Montana and the Dakotas nearing their maximum levels. Record releases have begun at Gavin’s Point dam located to the west of Yankton, South Dakota. Planned water releases have now increased to around 130,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) as of Tuesday, June 7th (up from 93,000 cfs on June 4th), with plans to increase the release rate to 150,000 cfs by the beginning or middle of next week (a release rate of 150,000 cfs would fill the dimensions of a football field 156 ft deep in one minute!). The previous high release at Gavin’s Point was 70,000 cfs in 1997.

Actual Average Daily Releases from Gavin’s Point dam (cubic feet/sec)

June 3rd June 4th June 5th June 6th
84.9 92.9 101.9 115.5

Planned Release Schedule at Gavin’s Point dam (cubic feet/sec)

June 7th June 8th June 9th June 10th June 11th June 12th June 13th June 14th June 15th
130.0 140.0 140.0 145.0 145.0 145.0 145.0 150.0 150.0

These extremely high flows, combined with normal rainfall, may result in near-record flooding along portions of the Missouri River. At this time, flooding in the immediate Kansas City area is expected to be within the minor to moderate category, with the potential of flood walls being closed in the central industrial district if the crest nears 39 feet.

For the most up to date information on likely long term stages based on Gavin’s Point releases, please see the

Corps of Engineers Long Range Forecast

Please Note: The following table is a long-range Missouri River forecast from the US Army Corps of Engineers, assuming normal summer precipitation along with the expected peak releases of 150,000 cfs from Gavin’s Point dam. Record and 2010 flood crests have been included for reference. This product will be updated frequently as the long-range forecast will likely be modified as a result of rainfall events and potential adjustments to releases at Gavin’s Point. It is suggested that persons also check the US Army Corps of Engineers Omaha District and Kansas City District webpages.

Table of the potential range of river stages with 150,000 CFS (cubic feet per second) of water released plus normal rain fall for the coming summer months
Location Flood Stage Long Range Forecast Record Crest 2010 Crest 2008 Crest 2007 Crest
Brownville 33 ft. 43 to Above 44 ft. 44.30 ft. in 1993 40.15 ft. 40.15 ft. 38.80 ft.
Rulo 17 ft. 25.5 to Above 27 ft. 26.63 ft. in 2010 26.63 ft. 24.98 ft. 25.09 ft.
St. Joseph 17 ft. 27 to 32 ft. 32.07 ft. in 1993 26.17 ft. 25.10 ft. 25.26 ft.
Atchison 22 ft. 30 to 34 ft. 31.63 ft. in 1993 29.83 ft. 28.85 ft. 29.15 ft.
Leavenworth 20 ft. 27 to 33 ft. 35.34 ft. in 1993 25.50 ft. 25.65 ft. 26.82 ft.
Kansas City 32 ft. 30 to 39 ft. 48.87 ft. in 1993 Below Flood Below Flood 35.37 ft.
Sibley 22 ft. 28 to 33 ft. 35.91 ft. in 1993 29.00 ft. 28.10 ft. 32.80 ft.
Napoleon 17 ft. 25 to 29 ft. 28.86 ft. in 2007 25.25 ft. 24.60 ft. 28.86 ft.
Waverly 20 ft. 27 to 31 ft. 31.15 ft. in 1993 28.47 ft. 27.35 ft. 30.10 ft.
Miami 18 ft. 26 to 30 ft. 32.60 ft. in 1993 28.50 ft. 26.75 ft. 29.48 ft.
Glasgow 25 ft. 32 to 37 ft. 39.50 ft. in 1993 33.81 ft. 31.79 ft. 34.25 ft.
Boonville 21 ft. 27 to 33 ft. 37.10 ft. in 1993 30.16 ft. 27.95 ft. 29.99 ft.

Click to enlarge the Corps of Engineers Long Range Forecast