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      Runoff From Mountain Snow Likely To Be Much Lower In 2012
Threat Of Flooding Along Missouri River
Predicted To Be 'Normal' This Spring
MARCH 7, 2012 -- So far, 2012 is shaping up as a year in which the threat of flooding along the Missouri River should be "typical," according to the National Weather Service (NWS).

Last year, higher than normal runoff from melting snowpacks in the Rocky Mountains, coupled by record spring rains in Montana and the Dakotas, led to persistent flooding in the Missouri River Basin. As the Missouri River swelled upstream, the Army Corps of Engineers was forced to release record amounts of water from dams in Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota. The result was prolonged flooding down river.

Currently, the NWS is predicting that 2012 will not be a repeat of 2011.

 
Record snow melt in 2011 led to the record release of Missouri River dams in Montana and the Dakotas.
The probability of flooding in nearly all areas along the Missouri River and its tributaries in northwest Missouri is "near normal" for a typical spring, according to NWS forecasters. Only local precipitation amounts this spring, not melting Rocky Mountain snow, will likely determine whether or not an area in the Missouri River Basin floods in 2012.

"This is certainly good news, but we're well aware that conditions could change," said Jackson County Emergency Preparedness & Homeland Security Director Mike Curry. "We'll monitor the situation closely."

The NWS cautioned that the mountain snowpack peak isn’t usually reached until mid-April. Thus far in 2012, however, the snowpack in the Rockies "is significantly less than last year," according to the NWS.

"Minor or in some cases moderate flooding is likely at locations which typically flood as a result of normal spring precipitation patterns," the NWS stated.

The Corps of Engineers noted that through February 1 the runoff forecast for the Missouri River Basin above Sioux City, Iowa, was 103 percent of what would be expected in a normal spring.

The runoff for 2011 was 247 percent above what would be classified as normal.

 

 
           
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