The Flood of 2019 Begins as Missouri and Mississippi Rivers Swell.

By on March 19, 2019

From St. Louis Post-Dispatch:  The water bumps and bounces toward Missouri like a low-rider cruising on Broadway, bass blasting as if to announce its presence.

It’s spring rise season in the Missouri River Basin, and that means from Clarksville to Cairo, from Hannibal to Hamburg, residents of river towns are nervous about what comes next. Because of heavier than normal snowpack, early rain and — yes — climate change — both the Missouri and Mississippi rivers are swelling, likely to top their banks in some locations in coming days and weeks.

At the confluence of the two great rivers, just north of St. Louis, a slow-motion head-on crash is coming.

Last week, four separate times, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced increased releases of water from the Gavins Point Dam in Yankton, S.D., from 50,000 cubic feet per second to 60,000, then 90,000, and 100,000, knowing full well that the massive amount of water it was sending downstream would cause flooding.

“We know there are communities experiencing flooding, or nearing that condition, along the Missouri downstream of our dams,” said John Remus, chief of the Corps’ Missouri River Water Management Division in Omaha, Neb. “We are managing releases from Gavins Point as judiciously as we can in order to lessen the impact downstream.”

For veterans of flooding seasons in the Missouri River Basin, this is like an early warning system.

Strap in. With even an average amount of rain, this spring is going to be a soggy, and potentially deadly, one.

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About Dede Hance