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Experts: Expect cool, wet May, no Missouri River flooding

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Expect May to be wetter and cooler than normal in the Dakotas, but don't expect a repeat of 2011's Missouri River flooding, according to weather experts.

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Climatologists from South Dakota State University and the National Weather Service joined with a river flow specialist from the Army Corps of Engineers Thursday on a web meeting regarding near-term weather patterns and the Missouri River.

State climatologist Dennis Todey said, "we have a dichotomy" between the Northern Plains and Central Plains. He said precipitation is above or near normal in the north (the Dakotas) and below or much below normal to the south (Nebraska and Kansas).

However, southern South Dakota is just below normal for precipitation as of the end of April.

There is still frost in the ground in the northern reaches of the Northern Plains, Todey said. Frost remains between 27 and 40 inches below the surface in Aberdeen, South Dakota and between 25 and 57 inches in Williston, North Dakota as of Wednesday.

As far as predicted Missouri River flows, the Army Corps of Engineers' Kevin Stamm says there is above normal snowpack above Fort Peck, Mont., and between Fort Peck and the Garrison Dam in North Dakota.

So far this spring, however, Stamm said, flows have been below normal on the Missouri River. But this summer, Stamm says flows will be above average though there is sufficient storage capacity in the mainstem dams to handle it.

"Don't expect it to reach 2011 unless something phenomenal happens," Stamm said.

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