Corps predicts lower Missouri River runoff in 2021

Local News

OMAHA, Neb. (KCAU) – The 2021 runoff forecast for the Missouri River basin above Sioux City remains below average with February’s reservoir inflows being well below average for February, according to the US Army Corps of Engineers.

The runoff for February was only 70% of the average with 0.8 million acre-feet.

John Remus, chief of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Missouri River Basin Water Management Division, said the cold February temperatures had locked up tributaries that flow into the reservoirs. Based on snowpack levels, he added that the 2021 runoff looks to remain below average.

“Mountain snowpack continues to accumulate in the Rocky Mountains; however, plains snowpack is well-below seasonal averages and soil moisture continues to be much drier than normal,” Remus said.

Based on soil moisture conditions, plains snowpack, mountain snowpack, and long-term precipitation and temperature outlooks, the runoff forecast for 2021 in the upper basin is 21.8 MAF, which is 84% of the average.

Remus added that before the extreme cold in February, releases at Gavins Point were increased to 19,000 cubic feet per second to help lessen ice formation on the lower Missouri River.

“The System hydropower plants increased energy production during the coldest days to compensate for the increased energy demands throughout the region,” Remus said.

System storage is currently 55.6 MAF, 0.5 MAF below the base of the annual flood control zone.

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