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[March 11, 2014]
No repeat of 2011 flood, agencies say [St. Joseph News-Press, Mo. :: ]
(St. Joseph News-Press (MO) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) March 11--The National Weather Service River Forecast Center and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers agreed Tuesday that there won't be a repeat of the 2011 flood this year.
"The Corps still cannot see the big picture," said Gerald Schneider, owner of Buffalo Hallow Farms in Doniphan County, Kan. "They are playing games on their computers, instead of draining the bathtubs (dams)." The Corps reviews mountain and plains snowpack, as well as the forecast for rain, in helping to determine floods, said Jody Farhat, chief of Missouri River water management for the Corps. The good news is that the plains snowpack is all but gone, and the forecast doesn't call for a repeat of the 2011 rains, Mrs. Farhat said.
The Corps also has additional flood storage capacity because of the 2012 drought.
Corps and weather officials describe the 2011 rains as a bizarre event that's highly unlikely in 2014.
The spring will be a typical year, said Scott Dummer, hydrologist at the River Forecast Center in Pleasant Hill, Mo. Any flooding on tributaries will be minor to moderate, lasting only a day or so, he said.
The hydrologist predicted damage would be restricted to a few fields and seldom-used county roads.
Both agencies say that Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska remain in drought conditions.
If the Missouri River rises, the Corps has storage capacity at Gavins Point Dam in South Dakota, Mrs. Farhat said. However, at St. Joseph it would take four or five days for any action at Gavins Point to have an impact, she added.
The Corps is increasing the flow of water from Gavins Point for the navigation season. It should be running at about 26,000 cubic feet per second, and could be increased to 30,000 cfs as part of the Corps' efforts to maintain the navigation channel.
While the agency is monitoring the Missouri River on a daily basis, it still is collecting only the same data it did in 2011.
Marshall White can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @SJNPWhite.
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