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Corps reduces releases from Gavins Point Dam

Corps reduces releases from Gavins Point Dam

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Gavins Point Dam

Water flows through the spillways of Gavins Point Dam in Yankton, S.D., in this April 2019 file photo. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Monday said runoff into the Missouri River remains at below-average levels.

OMAHA -- A year ago, the Missouri River was out of its banks along its route through Sioux City and downstream.

The river is far from full this summer, and the water level likely will drop further.

Because of hot, dry conditions in June, runoff into the river basin above Sioux City was below average. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Tuesday decreased releases from Gavins Point Dam near Yankton, South Dakota, to 30,000 cubic feet per second, down from 33,000 cfs. Releases were maintained at 70,000 cfs throughout last summer because of runoff that was well above average.

The corps has decreased its 2020 runoff forecast to 31.2 million acre feet, a drop of more than 1 MAF from last month, but still on pace to be 121 percent of the average annual runoff of 25.8 MAF.

"Most of the mountain snowmelt runoff has entered the reservoir system. Remaining summer runoff will depend on rainfall events," John Remus, chief of the corps’ Missouri River Basin Water Management Division said in a news release.

As of Monday, storage in the six Missouri River reservoirs totaled 61.5 MAF, up 1.7 MAF since June 1 and occupying 5.4 MAF of the 16.3 MAF flood control zone.

Remus said the runoff forecast remains above average because of the saturated soil conditions earlier in the year. A National Weather Service climate outlook is predicting that the rest of the summer will be warmer and drier than normal, and drought conditions are beginning to expand across western portions of the basin in Wyoming, Montana and the Dakotas.

Corps of Engineers official: Missouri River flood control measures need to be changed
Gavins Point releases remain at normal levels

Flood photos from the Sioux City Journal archives

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