News Releases

Weekly Missouri Basin flood response update for key stakeholders

Northwestern Division
Published July 16, 2019
Updated: July 16, 2019
Irrigation releases from Harlan County Dam and Reservoir are 210 cubic feet per second in cooperation with the US Bureau of Reclamation.

Irrigation releases are 210 cubic feet per second in cooperation with the US Bureau of Reclamation. Flood control releases may begin in late August or September, once mutually compatible conditions are established between Harlan County Lake and Milford Lake which will receive its releases downstream.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers emergency and water management officials held a call July 11 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:

It is also available via Podcast at:

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.

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.

“We are keeping close watch on Tropical Storm Barry and its remnants,” said Low.

The National Weather Service provides official river stage and weather forecasts.  Its website -- -- 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 10, 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 John Remus, chief of the Missouri River Water Management Division included that releases from Gavins Point Dam will remain at 70,000 cubic feet per second through July to manage reservoir levels and continue evacuating flood water. He also noted that the pool levels at Garrison and Fort Peck remain in their exclusive flood control zones and were declining after a small rise following local rainfall.

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:

Chris Purzer, chief of water management in 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:

“We are primarily focused on reservoirs in the Lower Kansas Basin and the Osage Basin.  We still have a significant amount of water stored in the 10 reservoirs located within these two river Basins,” said Purzer.

“A single rainfall event can reverse weeks of progress and fill any of these projects’ flood control pools and push one or more of these reservoirs into surcharge operations,” Purzer added.

Purzer also noted that the pool elevation at Harlan County Reservoir on the Republican River Basin in south central Nebraska has exceeded its record pool elevation of 1955.66 feet set in April 1960. The pool elevation on July 15 was 1957.95 feet with 37.1 % of the flood control pool occupied.

Details on Harlan County Reservoir can be found here:

Jud Kneuvean, chief of Emergency Management with 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:

 “Although high water on the Missouri River continues to impact our ability to complete many damage assessments, to date, our levee rehab team has received a total of 93 Requests for Assistance, representing, I believe 64 levee systems. We will have all damage assessments and project information report development completed by the end of September,” said Kneuvean.

Eileen Williamson

Release no. 19-049