|Storms Have Little Impact On River
So far the 6,000 sandbags, filled by volunteers June 16 to be prepared for potential flooding, have not been used. They are being stored near locations -- like these railroad tracks near Levasy -- where they'll be deployed if the threat of flooding from the Missouri River heightens.
The thunderstorms that swept through the area Sunday night into Monday morning had little impact on the Missouri River as it flows through eastern Jackson County. At 7:02 this morning, the water level near the Sibley and Levasy levees was at 26.8 feet, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).
The water level is actually down from 27.5 feet Friday, June 24.
NWS meteorologists had more good news for the area this morning. Their seven-day forecast calls for a 30-percent chance of storms on Tuesday night but, otherwise, dry weather this week -- both locally and throughout much of the Missouri River basin.
Levels Expected To Continue Rising
Despite that forecast, the NWS Advance Hydrologic Prediction Service projects the river level at Sibley and Levasy to climb past 28 feet this Thursday, June 30 as the release of water from reservoirs and dams up stream continues. The overflow point for the Sibley-Levasy levees is 30 feet, but Jackson County Emergency Preparedness Director Mike Curry pointed out that the levees are becoming saturated with each passing day the Missouri River remains high.
"While the levees won't be topped until 30 feet, they're getting increasingly saturated the longer they have to hold back 26-, 27-, 28-foot high water levels," Curry said. "Earthen levees are designed to protect against the water coming in suddenly, with the expectation being that the river will recede quickly back to normal levels. The Missouri River is going to be at a high level all summer."
Record Release Rate
The Missouri River began to rapidly swell this spring. First, the April run-off from snow melting in the Rocky Mountains proved to be unusually high, according to the United States Army Corps of Engineers. Then historic amounts of rain fell on the Dakotas during May.
Those wet conditions prompted the Corps of Engineers to gradually begin releasing water from the Gavins Point Dam near Yankton, South Dakota. After another five inches of rain in parts of South Dakota early last week, the Corps increased the rate of water release to a record 160,000 cubic feet per second. Corps officials stated that the additional water from Gavins Point takes about six days to reach the Kansas City area.