OMAHA, Nebraska --
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers emergency and water management officials held a call June 20 to communicate to Midwest Congressional representatives, Tribal, state and local government officials (including levee sponsors and emergency managers) an update of current runoff conditions, system storage and a status of flooding response and recovery activities.
A recording of that call can be accessed here: https://www.dvidshub.net/audio/58505/missouri-river-basin-water-management-6-20. It is also available via Podcast at: https://podcasts.apple.com/podcast/id508457675.
All of the information provided on this call is accessible through the Missouri Basin “Web App.” The information at the links in the web app is the most up-to-date information from the National Weather Service and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. https://go.usa.gov/xmtYU.
Kevin Low from the Missouri Basin River Forecast Center, National Weather Service, provided an update on river stages along the Missouri River and its tributaries.
There is expected rainfall over the next seven days with the potential for river stages to rise from Rulo, Nebraska to St. Louis, Missouri by up to two feet if the rainfall materializes.
The National Weather Service provides official river stage and weather forecasts. Its website -- www.weather.gov/mbrfc -- provides river observations and forecasts; weather observations and forecasts, and additional information including the spring flood outlook under items of seasonal interest. The Corps’ Missouri River Water Management Division shares all release forecasts with the National Weather Service for incorporation into their forecast products.
The Missouri River Water Management Division provided an update on the June 19, three-week regulation forecast with projected reservoir elevations and release forecasts through early July. The three-week regulation forecast is updated each Wednesday or more frequently if runoff conditions warrant it.
Key points from Mike Swenson, power production team lead for the Missouri River Water Management Division included that releases from Gavins Point Dam are forecast to be reduced to 70,000 cubic feet per second on June 27. He also noted that the Oahe and Fort Randall reservoirs have exited the exclusive flood control storage zone, the Garrison Reservoir has entered its exclusive flood control zone, flows will be increasing from Garrison Dam to a target 46,000 cubic feet per second on June 24, and some flows will be transferred to the spillway to accommodate scheduled maintenance at the Garrison project.
Tom Brady, program manager for the Northwestern Division levee program under PL 84-99, emphasized the Corps commitment to provide recovery support under Public Law 84-99 authorities noting the Omaha and Kansas City district’s aggressive efforts to assess damages, provide initial and temporary repairs, and that work would continue until all repairs are complete.
The Omaha District provided an update on the status of post flood levee inspections and rehabilitation. They keep this information updated on their website at: https://go.usa.gov/xmtYB.
Noteworthy items from Matt Krajewski, chief of Emergency Management for the Omaha District, included that, to date, the Omaha District has completed five breach closures since the March storm.
Eric Shumate, chief of hydrologic engineering from the Kansas City District provided an update on the status of the reservoirs on the Kansas River and the Osage River. This information is available on their website at: https://go.usa.gov/xmhrd.
“Significant rainfall can still push one or more of these reservoirs into surcharge operations,” said Shumate.
The Kansas City District provided an update on the status of their flood response efforts and levee conditions. They keep this information updated on their website at: https://go.usa.gov/xmtYD.
A question and answer session followed with many questions related to release changes from Gavins Point Dam.
Finally, though not provided on the call, the Missouri River Water Management Division is providing further clarification regarding the release rate of 75,000 cfs from Gavins Point Dam.
Releases from Gavins Point Dam are high because releases from any of the other five Missouri River Mainstem dams eventually comes through Gavins Point.
Releases from Gavins Point Dam are forecast to be reduced to 70,000 cfs on June 27. The total system storage is still in its exclusive flood control zone. Although some pool levels are beginning to decline, with total system storage at 67.8 million acre feet. The regulation forecast is subject to change daily as actual events occur. Forecast release reductions or increases are subject to change based on actual river conditions
System storage needs to be reduced to 56.1 million acre feet before the next runoff season. It takes some time to clear that stored flood water from the system and higher releases from the system are expected into the fall.
The total amount of water stored in the system and the forecast runoff for the rest of the year are how release rates are projected. More runoff requires higher releases. When, where and how much rain falls influences release amounts and where they occur.