Army Corps Of Engineers Holds December Update On Missouri River

(KCCR) — The U-S Army Corps of Engineers held its final scheduled update on the Missouri River for 2019 Thursday afternoon. Kevin Low with the National Weather Service’s Missouri Basin River Forecast Center says precipitation in the basin has been about average except for parts of South Dakota and Montana…

“Mountain snowpack is about average for this point in the accumulation period, mindful of course that it’s still very early. We do currently have some plains snowpack, with heaviest amounts in the Dakotas. Most places there have an inch or less of water equivalent. We don’t expect any significant weather producers across the Missouri River basin during the next seven days. We will pick up some more mountain snow and we’ll add a little bit to the plains snow, but no large, organized systems.”
Mike Swenson with the Corps Missouri River Water Management Division says the reservoir system has seen a decent decline in the last month…

“System storage is currently 57.3 million acre-feet. System storage has decreased about 3.6 million acre-feet since the end of October. 1.2 million acre-feet of the 16.3 million acre-feet of total flood storage is occupied.”
Swenson says the system is slowly being placed in to winter mode with minor continual release reductions…

“Releases from Gavins Point are currently 57,000 c-f-s and are being stepped down 3,000 c-f-s per day until releases reach 27,000 c-f-s in mid-December. Releases will be held at that rate through December. The long-range forecast shows Gavins Point releases 25,000 c-f-s in January and February. Releases from Fort Randall are currently 48,000 c-f-s and are being stepped down to winter levels at a rate of about two to three-thousand c-f-s per day. Oahe reservoir is at elevation 1608.8, 1.3 feet above the base of the annual flood control zone. Releases from Oahe are also being reduced to winter release rates.”
Officials say they will continue to be as aggressive as they can with releases in order to prepare of the 2020 season while also mitigating the risk from flooding due to ice jams.