Corps says it could not have forecast this summer's flooding

Water flows from the Missouri River over levee L-550, located north of Highway 136 in Atchison County, Mo., June 19th. (U.S. Army Photo / Carlos J. Lazo)


Army Corps of Engineers officials insist they could not have foreseen the flooding along the Missouri River that did so much damage this summer.
Corps spokeswoman Monique Farmer has heard the criticism that the Corps should have begun releasing water from dams upstream on the Missouri River earlier to avoid the widespread flooding devastation this summer.
“There was nothing in our weather forecast that would have given us the indication back in the January-February timeframe or even (the) March-April timeframe to give us that red flag to say that we should increase releases,” according to Farmer.
The Corps has stated that a combination of unusually large snowfall run-off and heavy spring rains overwhelmed the six dams upstream on the Missouri River, forcing it to release water at unprecedented levels. The sustained heavy releases flooded tens of thousands of acres of prime farmland, destroyed homes and businesses and ruin roads. A number of reviews of how the Corps handled the situation are underway.
Farmer says preliminary work has been completed to repair two main levees breached by floodwaters this summer. Contracts have been awarded to repair Levee-575 near Hamburg, Iowa and L-550 in Atchison County in extreme Northwest Missouri.
“The Corps of Engineers has pulled funds from other projects to go ahead and jump start construction efforts to begin the repair process,” according to Farmer. “We are still waiting to find out how much money Congress is going to allocate so that we can continue that repair process.”
Those levee breaches allowed floodwaters to flow over thousands of acres of prime farmland and to wipe out the three roads leading from southeast Nebraska to Interstate 29 in Iowa and Missouri.