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Gavins Point Dam

Water flows through Gavins Point Dam near Yankton, S.D., in this 2011 file photo. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is increasing water releases to 42,000 cubic feet per second on Wednesday and then incrementally increasing releases to 55,000 cfs by Sunday.

OMAHA -- Water releases were increased from Gavins Point Dam Wednesday, and releases were stopped at Fort Randall to leave room in Lewis and Clark Lake for runoff from heavy rainfall and snowmelt in the region.

Releases were to be increased again on Thursday.

Gavins Point releases were increased from 17,000 cubic feet per second to 22,000 cfs at noon and again to 27,000 cfs later in the day at the dam near Yankton, South Dakota. Late Wednesday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced that releases would be increased at 1 a.m. Thursday to 32,000 cfs and to 37,000 cfs at 7 a.m.

"The increase in Gavins Point releases is in response to heavy rains and melting snow in the 16,000-square-mile drainage area between Fort Randall Dam and Gavins Point Dam," John Remus, chief of the corps' Missouri River Basin Water Management Division, said in a news release.

Releases from Fort Randall, upstream from Gavins Point at Pickstown, South Dakota, were ceased Wednesday morning.

"Even with releases from Fort Randall shut off, the runoff from the heavy rainfall and melting snow, primarily in the Niobrara River basin and its small tributaries, will quickly fill the small amount of flood storage in the Gavins Point reservoir," Remus said.

Last week, the corps forecast runoff into the Missouri River basin above Sioux City for 2019 at 28.4 million acre-feet, 112 percent of average. The six reservoirs had their flood all capacity for flood water storage available, the corps said. The reservoir at Gavins Point is the smallest of the six.

Gavins Point releases were increased last week from 18,000 cfs to 20,000 cfs.

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