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Missouri River Rises After Storms,
But Expected To Steadily Drop

Wednesday, August 24, 2011 -- 9:17 a.m.
Intense thunderstorms this past weekend caused the Missouri River to rise. The water level near Sibley and Levasy reached 28.75 feet early Monday, August 22. The river in eastern Jackson County had dipped to 28.65 feet at 4:45 a.m. today, and the National Weather Service (NWS) projects that water level will steadily drop through the weekend to around 27 feet even Sunday evening.

Meanwhile, the Army Corps of Engineers will continue easing the rate of water being released from the Gavins Point Dam near Yankton, South Dakota. In recent weeks, the Corps has been decreasing the release rate each day by about 5,000 cubic feet per second (CFS), which will bring the rate down to 90,000 CFS on Saturday, August 27. The Corps' goal remains bringing the release rate down to 40,000 CFS by the end of September -- then down to 20,000 CFS by December 1.

Friday, August 12, 2011 -- 9:33 a.m.
The Missouri River has continued its slow but steady drop since the first of August. Near Sibley and Levasy, the river's water level was down to 27.5 feet this morning, according to the National Weather Service (NWS). The water level was expected to remain around 27.5 feet through the weekend and into the early part of next week.

The Army Corps of Engineers is still releasing water from the Gavins Point Dam near Yankton, South Dakota at the rate of 150,000 cubic feet per second. However, the Corps remains hopeful that release rate can gradually be dropped to 40,000 cubic feet per second by October 1. 

The rate of release from the Gavins Point Dam decreased Saturday, July 30. -- Army Corps of Engineers Photo

Monday, August 1, 2011 -- 10:09 a.m.
The Missouri River was remaining steady near Sibley and Levasy this morning. According to the latest figures from the National Weather Service (NWS), the river level near Sibley had dipped about three inches in less than 48 hours, down to 29.1 feet at 7:01 a.m. today. "The river will fall to 28.9 feet this afternoon (August 1)," the NWS projected, "then remain near 28.9 feet through Friday (August 5)."

The Army Corps of Engineers Daily River Bulletin shows the water level near St. Joseph, Missouri having dropped nearly a half-foot in the last 24 hours to 27.6 feet. The Corps of Engineers also had good news for all points down river from the Gavins Point Dam near Yankton, South Dakota. On Saturday, July 30, the Corps decreased the rate of release from that dam to 155,000 cubic feet of water per second -- still enough water to fill about nearly 70 million gallon jugs every minute, but a decrease, nonetheless, from the record rate of 160,000 cubic feet that had been flowing through the dam every second since June 22.

Today, the Corps anticipates again lowering the Gavins Point release rate to 150,000 cubic feet per second and maintaining that release level until mid-August. The Corps' goal is to then gradually reduce the rate to 90,000 cubic feet by September 1 and 40,000 cubic feet by October 1.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011 -- 11:06 a.m.
The Missouri River was at 29.2 feet near Sibley at 7:03 a.m. today, according to the National Weather Service (NWS). "The river will remain near 29.1 feet through Friday," the NWS reported, "then begin a slow fall to near 28.7 feet by Monday."

Monday, July 25, 2011 -- 12:03 p.m.
According to gauge readings at 7:25 a.m. today, the Missouri River near Sibley and Levasy was at 28.9 feet. The latest National Weather Service (NWS) flood warning projects the water level at Sibley to be "nearly steady this week around 29.0 feet." NWS projections last week, which called for the river to stay "around 28.8 feet" proved to be accurate. The Army Corps of Engineers Daily River Bulletin shows water levels in the Dakotas remaining steady as well, although the Missouri River is now several feet below flood stage in much of Montana.

Monday, July 18, 2011 -- 3:13 p.m.

Scenes Of The Flooding Near Levasy

Missouri River




After falling below 30 feet Friday, July 15, the Missouri River "will drop slightly today then become nearly steady around 28.8 feet" as it flows past Sibley and Levasy this week, according to the latest National Weather Service (NWS) projections. The NWS listed the water level at Sibley at 29 feet as of 7:40 a.m. today.

With the river appearing as if it may be stable the next few days, the greater danger this week, from a weather perspective, will be posed by an oppressive heat wave, the NWS emphasized. CLICK HERE for more information about the NWS Excessive Heat Warning.

Jackson County Emergency Preparedness Director Mike Curry has noted that the river will need to dip to around 28 feet to significantly reduce the back-flow into Fire Prairie Creek, the tributary that has flooded hundreds of acres of eastern Jackson County farmland. Stock Road and Ripperger Road north of Levasy have been barricaded due to flooding from Fire Prairie Creek.

The NWS stresses in its flood warnings, "Do not drive through flowing water. Nearly half of all flood fatalities are vehicle related. As little as six inches of water may cause you to lose control of your vehicle. Two feet of water will carry most vehicles away."

Water Level Down Nearly 2 Feet In A Week

More information about the Missouri River flooding situation can be found on the Missouri State Emergency Management Team website at sema.dps.mo.gov.
CLICK HERE to view a map from the Missouri Department of Transportation indicating road closings in the state.
The NWS Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service indicates the Missouri River near Sibley and Levasy has dropped almost two feet since Monday, July 11. Furthermore, the Army Corps of Engineers Daily River Bulletin shows water levels in the northern Missouri River Basin have also fallen in the last week -- down 2.3 feet at Virgelle, Montana, but only 0.1 feet at Yankton, South Dakota.

The river at Yankton is about 6 feet above flood stage, keeping the reservoir full at the Gavins Point Dam on the South Dakota-Nebraska border. Through at least the end of July, the Corps of Engineers is expected to continue releasing water from the Gavins Point Dam at the record rate of 160,000 cubic feet per second.

At that rate, the Gavins Point Dam is pouring out enough water to fill about 72 million one-gallon jugs every minute.

Missouri River Timeline

Historical Perspective

Unlike in 2007 when this photo was taken in Levasy, the Missouri River so far this summer has not topped the levees in eastern Jackson County. However, unlike in 2007, the Missouri River is expected to remain high and pose a flood threat this entire summer.

Missouri River Record Crests
Near Sibley, Missouri

35.91 Feet    July 29, 1993
35.58 Feet    July 14, 1951
32.80 Feet    May 8, 2007
32.60 Feet    June 3, 1903
31.10 Feet    July 7, 2011

SOURCE: National Weather Service's Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service


Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Two inches of rain fell in and around Levasy on Tuesday, July 12, causing increased flooding in the area from the Fire Prairie Creek. The flooding in eastern Jackson County from the creek won't let up until the Missouri River drops to around 28 feet and stops backing up into the tributary.

Monday, July 11, 2011
The Missouri River dipped back below 31 feet as the National Weather Service predicted a slow drop throughout the week to around 30 feet even. Jackson County Emergency Preparedness Director Mike Curry remains concerned about levees breaching as they hold back the high water.

Friday, July 8, 2011
The levees near Sibley and Levasy in eastern Jackson County continued to hold back the Missouri River, despite water levels rising to beyond 31 feet. In a warning update issued Friday morning, the National Weather Service (NWS) anticipated "major flooding" in the Sibley and Levasy area as the river was expected to crest at around 31.2 feet Sunday, July 10, "then begin falling."

Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Despite rising to 30.8 feet near Sibley and Levasy on Saturday, July 2, the Missouri River did not top the primary levees in eastern Jackson County this past weekend. The water level had dipped to 30.15 feet as of 6 a.m. Tuesday, but had crept up to 30.55 feet at 7:27 a.m. Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).

Friday, July 1, 2011
The Missouri River was expected to be on the verge of topping the primary levees in eastern Jackson County as water levels continued to rise heading into the Independence Day weekend. The National Weather Service (NWS) projected that the river would crest near Sibley and Levasy at 30.4 feet early Saturday, July 2, bringing the water level up to -- if not over -- the brim of the 30-foot levees.

Flooded FieldTuesday, June 28, 2011
A levee breach near Atchison, Kansas was suspected of causing inaccurate measurements in gages at Atchison and Leavenworth, Kansas. Once more data could be reviewed, the National Weather Service anticipated that river-level projections for the Missouri River and the Kansas River would be revised "upward."   

Monday, June 27, 2011
Thunderstorms that swept through the area Sunday night into Monday morning (June 26-27) had little impact on the Missouri River as it flows through eastern Jackson County. At 7:02 Monday morning, the water level near the Sibley and Levasy levees was at 26.8 feet, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).

Friday, June 24, 2011
The National Weather Service (NWS) did not anticipate the Missouri River's water level near Levasy and Sibley to rise Saturday, June 25. Due to levee breaches Thursday, June 23 in two northwest Missouri counties, river levels fell between Brownville, Nebraska and St. Joseph, Missouri, prompting the NWS to reduce its previous river level projections for June 25. However, the NWS noted any relief down stream from Atchison and Holt counties would only be temporary.

Monday, June 20, 2011
Jackson County officials have been anxiously monitoring conditions along the swollen Missouri River for weeks. Volunteers filled 6,000 sandbags in preparation for potential flooding. On the morning of June 20, the National Weather Service (NWS) issued a flood warning that included parts of Jackson County (near Sibley), as well as parts of Platte and Clay counties.

CONTINUE READING: Missouri River Timeline


The United States Army Corps of Engineers recommends this booklet, published by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), to learn more about levees and how to prepare for flood threats.


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