Home 5 Ag Stories Missouri River runoff peaks, water releases to remain high

Missouri River runoff peaks, water releases to remain high

Photo by Dustin Hoffmann

The runoff season along the Missouri River, abruptly started by the bomb-cyclone in March, has finally peaked in 2019. However, the Army Corps of Engineers says water releases from the river system dams will likely remain high through the fall. The forecast calls for 2019 total runoff at 52.9 million-acre feet, the second-highest ever recorded, behind the devastating 2011 season.

Total upper basin runoff through July 31 was 45.3 million-acre feet, exceeding the total upper basin runoff in 2018 of 42.1 million-acre feet. Runoff remained particularly high in the reaches from Garrison Dam in North Dakota to Sioux City, Iowa, which ranged between three to seven times average in July.

The number of flood warnings has declined along the river. However, those hit hardest in 2011 in Northwest Missouri, and along other stretches of the river, remain in flood stage. Farm fields remain covered with floodwaters in those areas, and the extended high-water releases leave little hope for fields to drain anytime soon.