The Army Corps of Engineers has been able to empty slightly more water than planned this winter from its dams on the Missouri River.
Jody Farhat, who manages reservoir releases for the corps, said the six upstream dams have 400,000 acre feet more storage space than their base flood capacity.
While that's not a huge amount of water compared to the capacity of the six-reservoir system, “it's still pretty significant,” she said during a regular conference call Friday.
It's nearly equal to the volume of the reservoir behind Gavins Point Dam. It's enough to give the corps more flexibility should heavy rains fall.
The corps is releasing 22,000 cubic feet per second from Gavins Point Dam, the one that affects river levels in Nebraska and Iowa. That amount of water is considered normal but above average, Farhat said. The corps plans to keep Gavins Point at 22,000 cfs through February, she said.
Snowpack in the plains and mountains remains behind for the year but has begun to catch up now that colder air and more storms are passing through, she said.
Except in the mountains, the long-term outlook indicates that the odds are split between normal and above or below normal precipitation through April, said Doug Kluck, regional climate services manager for the National Weather Service.
The mountains could see above normal precipitation, he said.
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