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Missouri River

Second 500-year flood in 15 years

Could continue through mid August

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10 Jun 11 - Residents have been shoring up levees along the Missouri River from Montana through Missouri as federal officials plan record water releases to relieve pressure on six major reservoirs swollen by heavy rains and melting record snowpack.

Six dams from Fort Peck in Montana to Gavins Point on the South Dakota-Nebraska border are at or are planned to reach peak releases by mid June - and then continue those peak releases through mid August.

The outlook worsened this week with up to 5 inches of rain falling in Montana since Monday.

Flooding could continue until at least mid August

On Wednesday, officials cautioned that the record flows and sustained periods could still prove to be too much for the barriers.

The Army Corps of Engineers plans to release 60,000 cubic feet per second of water from the Fort Peck Dam on Friday. It expects to reach 150,000 feet per second at its other five reservoirs by about mid June and hold at that peak until at least mid August. (Italics added)

Flooding along the river this summer is expected to break decades-old record, said Fire Chief Dan Sturm in Hamburg, Iowa. If efforts to protect the town fail, part of Hamburg could be under as much as 8 feet of standing water for a month or more, said Sturm. “They’re talking months of this water staying here and it’s highly unlikely that any houses are going to survive this,” he says. “I just can’t see how anything will be salvageable.”

Water already reached up nine feet in some flooded areas south of Omaha, touching the nets on the basketball hoops in a city park.

The last time the Missouri River crested at levels predicted for this summer was in 1952, before most of the major dams along the river were built.

Hydrologist calls it 500-year event

"This event only had a 0.2 percent chance of occurring, making it a 500-year event," said Joyce Williamson, a USGS hydrologist. "This doesn't mean that the next comparable flood will be in 500 years, just that there is a 0.2 percent chance of this level of flooding to occur. Multiple 500-year events can occur in a short time frame and then not again for a very long time."

Second 500-year flood within fifteen years, says USGS

Here's a short interview on the USGS CoreCast.

Scott Horvath: Welcome, and thanks for listening to the USGS CoreCast. I'm Scott Horvath. Obviously, in the news today there is a lot happening with the floods in the Midwest. And certainly the USGS is doing a lot to cover this and provide up to date and real time information and data regarding these floods and what has been happening. We want to talk today with Bob Holmes who is the National Flood Coordinator for the USGS. Bob thanks for joining us.

Bob Holmes: Oh you're welcome Scott.

Scott: So, one of the things that I know you've been getting a lot for questions about and one of the things that some of the public might be interested in knowing about is: as far as flooding goes, you know we hear this phrase "500 year flood." And supposedly this is the 2nd 500 year flood within fifteen years. Is that correct?

Bob: That's right, I mean, some of our numbers are showing that this, least on our frequency probability curves is about the second 500 year flood we've had in 15 years.

The Missouri River forms the northwest portion of the Mississippi River basin that stretches from Montana to western New York and funnels water south into the Gulf of Mexico.

      As you know if you've read "Not by Fire but by Ice," I've
      been warning about the worst floods in 11,500 years.


See also:

See also:

See also:

See also:
500-Year Flood Sweeps Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Missouri - 27  Apr 11

See also:
Floods stir up troublesome bears around Roundup - 10 Jun 11

Flood photos from Great Falls, MT

See also:
Tiny hamlet of Hamburg may vanish with flood, evacuations underway

See also:
Inundation maps

Thanks to Jason Thompson for these links




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