It ain't over yet, Folks. This flood is going on and on and on and on. Until who knows how long. Into August and beyond.
The five dams above us on the Missouri River are being pushed to their limits to contain flood waters that have to go somewhere. Water is being released as high as possible and as low as possible. In other words as high as possible in order to maintain the integrity of the dams...ya know...prevent them from collapsing. They can hold only so much water and the heavy rains and melting snow packs are pouring water into the system like you wouldn't believe.
And it's being released as slowly as possible in order to prevent even worse flooding than is already occurring. There are already a half million acres of farm ground flooded, not to mention homes and businesses. Evacuations. Sand bagging. Bolstering levees. It's a mess.
The release at Gavins Point Dam is at an historic high of 160,000 cfs. I believe the previous high was somewhere between 80,000 and 90,000. I'm too lazy to go look it up.
The scary thing is that Gavins Point Dam has a potential to release up to 450,000 cfs. If necessary. ( And, please God, don't let that be the case.)
It's tense here. Traffic on I-29 five miles south of our town is down to two lanes with water lapping at the edge of the shoulder. This photo is looking north. (click for a close-up view)
The Missouri River at Decatur, Nebraska, continues to rise. I've become obsessive about checking the online status of the water. As you can see it's risen considerably since June 5 (first graph) to its present stage of 39.31. The highway east of the Decatur bridge (Iowa side of the river) risks being closed...water is lapping at its edges.
Two weeks ago the U.S. Corps of Engrs was saying there were no plans to release more than 150,000 cfs. We thought that would be the worst of it.
Unfortunately, heavy rains across Montana and the Dakotas forced a new level of 160,000 cfs. Of course, the Corps is saying this is the level they will maintain "barring unforeseen storms".
Did you know that Niagara Falls releases 150,000 cfs? We have more water than Niagara Falls flowing down the Missouri River...and that flow is expected to remain at this level into mid-August and who knows how long after that?
In the meantime local drainage systems will cease to function. You can't drain water into a river that has a higher elevation than the water you wish to drain. Those ditches will back up and flood more areas.
If you haven't noticed (national news is a bit slow on the uptake of this massive Missouri River event) the entire stretch of the Missouri River from Montana to Missouri is above flood stage. This is a catastrophic event for the Heartland of America...and we pray it does not get MORE catastrophic.
This thing ain't over till the fat lady sings. And I haven't a clue where to find her.