Archive for Friday, May 27, 2011

Missouri River soaks low-lying farmland in northwest Missouri

May 27, 2011


— The Missouri River has spilled over its banks, soaking low-lying farmland in northwest Missouri, and more flooding was expected as the amount of water released from swollen upstream reservoirs reaches "historic" levels.

Farm fields have been flooded in several spots west of Langdon, but no major damage or injuries were reported, according to Atchison County Chief Deputy Rick Sons.

"It's below the levees, but it's gone out of the banks and between the levees," Sons said. "A typical spring."

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said it has been anything but typical along more northern stretches of the Missouri River, however, where the corps is predicting one of the wettest years on record. The corps said in a statement that its incremental releases from five of six Missouri River reservoirs will reach "historic levels in the coming weeks." The corps said letting the water out is necessary to deal with reservoirs filled by the melting of heavy snowpack in the mountains and heavy spring rainfalls.

The releases, which are expected to reach 110,000 cubic feet per second, beat the previous high releases from 1997, which were 70,000 cubic feet per second.

"We have gotten about a year's worth of rain in Montana in the last month," said Monique Farmer, spokeswoman for the corps' Omaha district. "It's just one of those years. ... It's just crazy."

The corps said the Missouri River north of St. Louis could reach 3 to 6 feet above flood stage by the end of June. On Friday, the river was already nearing flood stage along points in Atchison County, Kan., but authorities there said there were no reports of flooding.

Scott Watson, a hydrologist with the National Weather Service in Pleasant Hill, said several spots along the Missouri River in western and central Missouri, from St. Joseph to Boonville, were either at or above flood stage Friday. The Missouri River is also expected to remain high because of the releases, but additional flooding would depend on rain in the coming weeks.

"We already have flooding in Missouri, so we'll have to closely watch how much heavy rain we get in the next month or so," he said. "To get the really high flooding closer to the major flooding we would need to have more rounds of heavy rain."

Forecasts called for a chance of rain this weekend in some sections of Missouri, but nothing extremely heavy in the next several days, Watson said.

"It's something that we'll definitely need to be watching," he said. "We'll just have to see what kind of rainfall precipitation patterns develop."


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