U.S. Army Corps talks about the potential for spring flooding - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

U.S. Army Corps talks about the potential for spring flooding


NEAR YANKTON, S.D. (KTIV/US92) New data from the US Army Corp of Engineers shows mountain snow pack levels near the Missouri River reservoirs are similar to those during record flooding three years ago. However, Corp officials aren't worried of a repeat of 2011 just yet.

A winter filled with plenty of snow and bone chilling temperatures across the northern US has mountain snow pack levels near the Missouri River reservoirs above normal.

"Around 125 to 130 percent of normal. And for this time of year, it is slightly above where it was in 2011," Army Corps of Engineer's Missouri River Water Management Specialist said.

Despite that similarity, Farhat isn't comparing this year's conditions to those of 2011, when the nation saw record flooding across several Midwest states.

One key difference from 2011 is current snow pack levels in the plains, where Corp officials says there is little to none at all.

Corp officials at the Gavins Point Dam near Yankton, South Dakota add the drought of 2012 also gave the Missouri River additional storage in the reservoirs that feed the river.

"They are about 15 percent below normal. That additional storage we have will really help us handle any potential flood waters we would have this year," Dave Becker, Army Corps of Engineers Project Manager-Gavins Point Dam said.

The risk of flood to this point is pretty slim, but Becker does say there are some factors that could change that here in the coming months.

"For example, the snow pack in the Great Plains is low right now. If we had a very snowy March and April that could change things. The amount of frost in the ground and whether the runoff soaks in the ground or runs off in the streams. Those are the things," Becker said.

At the end of the day, water management officials with the corp says they believe any flooding that happens this spring will be due to local events and not because of overflows from the reservoirs.

"Local thunderstorm rainfall events or localized flooding as snowmelt runs off into frozen rivers and streams. But the risk of flooding from the reservoirs this year is very small. The reservoir system is designed to handle the runoff that we are expecting this year. We don't anticipate any problems," Farhat said.

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