News Releases

Weekly Missouri Basin flood response update for key stakeholders – 8/1

Northwestern Division
Published Aug. 1, 2019
Missouri River Reservoir storage, inflows and releases for Fort Peck, Garrison and Oahe Dams.

Missouri River Reservoir storage, inflows and releases for Fort Peck, Garrison and Oahe Dams.

Missouri River Reservoir storage, inflows and releases for Fort Randall and Gavins Point Dams as well as the overall system analysis.

Missouri River Reservoir storage, inflows and releases for Fort Randall and Gavins Point Dams as well as the overall system analysis.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers emergency and water management officials held a call August 1 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.

John Leighow, chief of the Readiness and Contingency office for the Northwestern Division reported ongoing Phase 1 repairs, which include closing or repairing breaches where most infrastructure and population centers are at risk.

Phase 2 repairs are focused on full repairs. Of the 178 requests for rehabilitation assistance submitted to the Kansas City and Omaha Districts, 63 project information reports have been approved. These reports support requests for funding for subsequent engineering and design efforts for final repairs.

The entire levee rehabilitation effort for the Missouri River Basin has been estimated at $1 billion with additional expenses expected as requests for assistance and damage assessments continue.

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.

Rivers and tributaries in flood stage include:

  • Minor flooding on the Missouri River from Nebraska City, Nebraska to the mouth at St. Louis, Missouri (Except reaches from Atchison to Kansas City, Jefferson City, and Washington, Missouri)
  • South Dakota: James River, Big Sioux River
  • Kansas: Big Blue River above Tuttle Creek Reservoir (backwater flooding), Wakarusa River, Marais des Cygnes River, and Pottawatomie Creek

Low said there is a threat of heavy rain in the next 72 hours across eastern Kansas and western Missouri with rainfall totals up to 5 inches.

“Last night, we had 20 reports of rainfall in excess of 5 inches over eastern Kansas, seven reports of 7 inches or greater and one report of more than 9 inches of rain,” 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 July 31, three-week regulation forecast with projected reservoir elevations and release forecasts through late August. The three-week regulation forecast is updated each Wednesday or more frequently if runoff conditions warrant it.

Mike Swenson, from the Missouri River Water Management Division noted that system storage had declined by about 0.4 million acre feet (MAF) in the past week with 11.9 MAF currently stored in the system’s flood control zones.

Fort Peck reservoir is at 2246.2 feet down 0.4 feet in the last week. Garrison reservoir is at 1851.7 feet down 0.5 feet in the last week. Oahe reservoir is at 1617 down 0.2 feet in the last week.

Releases from Gavins Point Dam will remain at 70,000 cubic feet per second into late-August to continue evacuating flood water.

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:

As a whole, the four reservoirs in the Lower Kansas River Basin have 52% of their flood control storage occupied, down from 58% this time last week.

“While these percentages are improving, pool elevations remain from 18 feet above normal pool at Perry and Clinton reservoirs to 40 feet above normal at Tuttle Creek reservoir,” said Purzer.

On the Republican River basin, Harlan County Dam is the only U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project. Other dams on the Republican River are U.S. Bureau of Reclamation projects. Harlan County Dam has 36% of its flood control pool occupied down from 38% last week. Releases are currently 1,000 cfs and were increased to that level on July 26.

Conditions on the Osage River Basin are gradually improving. Truman Reservoir currently has 35% of its flood control storage occupied, down from 48% last week. Releases from Truman dam are 48,000 cubic feet per second today down from 50,000 cfs following heavy rains. As downstream flows on the Missouri River at Hermann, Missouri allow, releases will be increased to 50,000 cfs.

After heavy rains on July 31 on the Kansas side of the Osage Basin, releases from Melvern, Pomona, and Hillsdale dams were reduced to offset some of the rainfall runoff downstream.

Jud Kneuvean, chief of emergency management from the Kansas City District provided an update on the status of flood response efforts and levee conditions. They keep this information updated on their website at:

To date, the Kansas City District levee rehab team has received a total 104 Requests for levee rehabilitation assistance,

17 have been approved to enter the engineering and design phase shortly.

“Today we have been coordinating with stakeholders in Ottawa and Osawatomie, Kansas following heavy rain that fell overnight. We will be providing Ottawa with several pumps to assist with localized flooding that is occurring,” said Kneuvean

Matt Krajewski, chief of the Readiness Branch for the Omaha District provided an update on the status of post flood levee inspections and rehabilitation. To date, the district has completed 10 initial breach closures within the Omaha District’s area of operations, with 41 remaining.

“Significant progress is being made towards closure of the northern breach of Levee L550 between Watson and Rock Port, Missouri. The contractor is currently running a day and night shift. To date, approximately 210,000 cubic yards of sand has been placed. Of particular interest, approximately 70 percent of the equipment operators on site are local farmers, including one levee sponsor,” said Krajewski.

Omaha District levee status information is updated on their website at:

Eileen Williamson

Release no. 19-053