Dam releases to fall today

2011-07-12T01:30:00Z 2013-03-20T15:11:42Z Dam releases to fall todayBy CHRISTOPHER BJORKE, Bismarck Tribune Bismarck Tribune

 The Army Corps of Engineers plans to lower water releases from Garrison Dam by 5,000 cubic feet per second today, but how the height of the Missouri River will react is uncertain.

The corps said it will bring the release rate from 140,000 cfs to 135,000 cfs today and to 130,000 cfs on Thursday. It will continue to lower the level by increments of 5,000 cfs and reach 105,000 cfs by Aug. 4, according to its latest schedule, which can be foundatwww.nwd-mr.usace.army.mil/rcc/reports/twout.

The corps began lowering releases from the peak of

150,000 cfs on June 26, but the Missouri River has held steady near

19 feet, rising and falling slightly since then.

"We don't really know what's going to happen," said Steven Robinson, a hydrologist with the U.S. Geological Survey in Bismarck. "It's a complex system and there are a lot of interactions we haven't seen or experienced before."

The river was at 19.09 feet at 4:30 p.m. Monday. The National Weather Service projects that it will fall to 18.5 feet by Saturday. But the river did not follow similar predictions when releases were lowered earlier.

"There's been no dramatic shift either way with their release schedule," said Mary Senger, Burleigh County emergency manager. "The river's falling, but it's very slow."

Tammy Lapp-Harris, the emergency manager for Morton County, said her office had been preparing guidelines on assessing and repairing damage to homes, but is are waiting to release it when water recedes enough to allow people access to their property.

"We're not going to release that until people feel comfortable taking down flood protections," she said.

Because the river at Bismarck has not reached flows above

65,000 cfs since the construction of Garrison Dam, predicting what it would do as it rose was difficult. Experts face a similar problem now that its flow is falling.

"The people in the water business that used to know the Missouri at 140,000 or 150,000 cfs, those people are gone," Robinson said. Even the last big flood in 1952 provides little guidance since the river did not have the Oahe Dam downstream to hold back flows, he said.

"All I can say is, I guess we'll find out," Robinson said.

(Reach reporter Christopher Bjorke at 250-8261 or chris.bjorke@bismarcktribune.com.)

Copyright 2015 Bismarck Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(10) Comments

  1. Artist1
    Report Abuse
    Artist1 - July 13, 2011 8:23 am
    God! You're kidding me! The Tribune still hasn't banned the loon doc"stinkweed"101 yet? His post's are disturbing. I wouldn't want to be his next door neighbor..I can only imagine what he is growing in his garden. Obiviously he is smoking it! Or baking brownies! Weirdo!
  2. rivercat
    Report Abuse
    rivercat - July 12, 2011 8:22 am
    smokingcrater said: "umm, how do you figure that? Garrison was within 2 inches of topping the spillway gates. They played the numbers almost perfectly to get by at 150, literally 1 or 2 degrees of temperature increase in the mountains, or a 1/2 inch rain up stream, and it would have been over 150k."

    Actually, with surcharge space ~1856.5, they could have gotten by with max releases of approx. 125kcfs based on math not speculation. And with some common sense releases in late March/April from both Ft Peck and Garrison, releases could have been as low as 90kcfs. Unavoidable flooding - yes - but the impact could have been far less.
  3. rivercat
    Report Abuse
    rivercat - July 12, 2011 8:16 am
    HanpaSunka said: "Keep in mind, the snow pack in Montana, which is upstream of Bis-Man, has barely melted and it's mid-July.. "

    Where do you come up with this statement? The vast majority of "meltable" snow is gone (> 90%) and Montana rivers are falling quickly. Source = Snotel and USGS. Just because someone drove through some mountain pass last week and the snow was still 50 feet high has nothing to do with the majority of snow which melts from lower elevations.

  4. C Dog
    Report Abuse
    C Dog - July 12, 2011 8:15 am
    docholliday1874, you're just joking right? Or do you also worry about things like 'chemtrails'?

  5. docholliday1874
    Report Abuse
    docholliday1874 - July 12, 2011 7:54 am
    Harris-Mann Climatetology, the most exact weather service, independent of government, clearly reveals the ACOE deliberately, with malace, ignored forecasts & existing conditions throughout the fall/winter of 2010-11. There's absolutely no excuse for the flood crisis. It was intentional, it is very much a part of government's weather warfare program/HAARP. If doomsday religious fanatics want to believe otherwise, so be it, but it is government that's actually doomsday oriented! Unlike nuclear warfare, weather warfare is a "natural" way to destroy millions of lives, if not billions, without lasting effects, while ensuring the survival of self-serving government. By no means is the HAARP program dormant! This year's weather is merely a test run! "God, The Father Almighty. Amen."
  6. smokingcrater
    Report Abuse
    smokingcrater - July 12, 2011 12:08 am
    JonnyB said: "The USAE never needed to max the release to 150,000 cfs. Just wait, studies will show this at a later date. The USACE will never admit to this however. "

    umm, how do you figure that? Garrison was within 2 inches of topping the spillway gates. They played the numbers almost perfectly to get by at 150, literally 1 or 2 degrees of temperature increase in the mountains, or a 1/2 inch rain up stream, and it would have been over 150k.

  7. JonnyB
    Report Abuse
    JonnyB - July 11, 2011 11:48 pm
    The USAE never needed to max the release to 150,000 cfs. Just wait, studies will show this at a later date. The USACE will never admit to this however.
  8. HanpaSunka
    Report Abuse
    HanpaSunka - July 11, 2011 10:44 pm
    The article's statements need no 'translation'.. there's no sense to take down the sandbags until it's patently obvious the river isn't going to rise in the near future. Keep in mind, the snow pack in Montana, which is upstream of Bis-Man, has barely melted and it's mid-July.. as for 'mow your lawn' - get real Lx10 - there are far more important considerations than mowing the stupid grass. Like keeping the flooding out of the place(s). And, long grass is beautiful. Far prettier than those imitations of pool tables that waste millions of gallons of gasoline / year. Or do you have stock in an oil company?
  9. logicX10
    Report Abuse
    logicX10 - July 11, 2011 6:52 pm
    translation - take down your sandbags and MOW YOUR LAWN
  10. Kasey Burt
    Report Abuse
    Kasey Burt - July 11, 2011 6:12 pm
    Online editor: Please remove period at the end of your link to garrision releases. Its causing an error. You can remove this post. thanks
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