Missouri levels stabilizing, drop expected soonHigh waters continue on the Missouri River, but the levels are more stable as reservoirs begin to level off.
By: Anna Jauhola, The Daily Republic
High waters continue on the Missouri River, but the levels are more stable as reservoirs begin to level off.
Lake Sharpe above Big Bend Dam is at its normal operating level of 1,420.5 feet mean sea level, said Jody Farhat, chief of the Missouri River Basin Water Management office, on Monday.
The reservoir above Fort Randall remains at 1,374 feet, which is nearly 2 feet higher than the record pool elevation of 1,372.2 feet in 1997.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials met Monday morning to discuss the predicted drop in elevation of Lake Francis Case over the next three weeks, Farhat said. The forecast says the reservoir will drop 3 feet per week.
“The folks in the Engineering Division in the Omaha District are concerned about the drop,” she said. “They’d like it to be more like 2 feet a week.”
With current predictions, Lake Francis Case is expected to fall to normal operating levels of 1,367 feet by July 31. However, that could be drawn out due to concerns held by the corps.
Fort Randall Dam is releasing now at 157,000 cubic feet per second.
When the sorps slows the release, it will help prevent high rates of erosion along the shores of Lake Francis Case. The corps is particularly worried “fluffing” will occur — the pressure of the high water and its fast release could cause big chunks of soil to fall from the banks, Farhat said.
The Missouri River hasn’t changed much at Chamberlain/Oacoma in the last week, Farhat said.
“The towns are primarily affected by the level at Fort Randall,” she said. “We could see the reservoir drop pretty good this week, but we haven’t seen that yet.”
Lake Francis Case fluctuated slightly between Saturday and Monday by 0.02 feet due to about an inch of rain falling near Pickstown.
Chamberlain City Engineer Greg Powell said the city is still fighting water. Although it’s gone down about 2-3 inches since Saturday, he said the city’s still having the same issues with pumping water, leaks in the levee at the American Creek Marina and protecting lift stations.
“Hopefully next week it’ll be down a foot,” he said. “But there are no other big problems.”