The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is warning Missouri River states to brace for possible summer flooding, as it develops a plan to open dams straining under the pressure of heavy spring rains and above-normal snowpack melting. Click to hear KMZU’s Janet Adkison talk with Chairman of the Missouri Levee and Drainage District Tom Waters:
Waters said it’s difficult to tell how soon water from Gavin’s Point Dam will reach our area. “Originally the corps had talked about releasing 150,000 cfs at Gavin’s Point mid-June, but I think they will beat that by a few days and start those higher flows sooner. Every day they are increasing the flows and we won’t see a big wave come down. It will be a gradual increase everyday as they start bumping that water up,” Waters said.
Waters is hoping to keep history from repeating itself. “We had four major breaches last year where the levee actually blew out and water came through. The four major levees have been under construction and they’ve been restored to the original elevation. However, the seating has been completed and the slopes haven’t been fixed, so that could be a problem in the coming days.”
The corps of Engineers is projecting Missouri River levels between Sibley and Boonville to reach to a maximum of 12 feet above flood stage. As the level of the Missouri River continues to rise, so are concerns about crop insurance coverage for farmland that could likely flood from additional water released upstream. Director of the Missouri Farm Service Agency Eddie Hamill said that’s something he’s already inquired about with federal officials. “It has taken center stage in discussions this week. I have got a question into D.C. to make sure we get it clarified to make sure these acres get insured. I hope to hear back on that real promptly.”
According to the National Weather Service, the Missouri River near Waverly is forecast to crest at 27 feet over the weekend, prior to the additional release of water from Gavin’s Point.