Omaha Public Radio News
Fri July 22, 2011
The Missouri River Flood of 2011 is the topic of July's Omaha Press Club
By Cheril Lee
Omaha, NE – Missouri River flooding was the topic of this month's Omaha Press Club noon forum.
Jody Farhat, Chief of the Missouri River Water Management Office for the Corps of Engineers, updated the flooding situation. Farhat says heavy rainfall coupled with a large mountain snowpack have caused water to build up behind dams on the Missouri River. She says June 2011 runoff was the most on record dating back to 1898, with above normal rainfall and runoff expected throughout the remainder of the year.
Farhat says the Corps has worked diligently to get information out to the public via websites, Facebook and Twitter. She says despite those efforts, there are still many questions. One of the biggest has been why the Corps didn't release more water earlier.
She says reservoir operation is not based on long-term forecasts but rather actual conditions, "Based on the information that we had at the time that we had it, we had no reason to go to much higher releases during the spring. The fact that we've been on these very high releases since early June, I think we reached 100,000 on Gavins on the 10th of June and on the 14th of June we made it to 150,000, we've run those releases for about six weeks and just now are beginning to gain some available storage space in the reservoirs. Just within the last week the reservoir levels have been going down "
Farhat says a longer term flood evacuation strategy will be released by the Corps in the next week or two. The Missouri River is predicted to reach 36 feet by the weekend, which is 7 feet above flood stage.
Jody Farhat's complete presentation will air on Monday, August 29th at Noon on KIOS.