Missouri River water levels much lower than usual

NORFOLK, Neb. (AP) – Two years after Missouri River flooding ravaged parts of Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri, officials are now dealing with what’s shaping up to be one of the river’s driest years.

Significantly less water is expected to flow into the river this year because conditions remain dry and snowpack is below normal levels, according to the Norfolk Daily News. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said Thursday that its forecast from last month hasn’t changed.

The Corps estimated Thursday that 17.9 million acre feet of water will flow into the river this year. That is only about 69% of the average of 25.8 million acre feet, which would make this year the 22nd driest in the upper basin since 1898.

Currently, the amount of water being released from Gavins Point Dam on the Nebraska-South Dakota border is around 29,500 cubic feet per second and is expected to be about 30,000 cubic feet per second through July 1. But if runoff remains low, the Corps said the release would lowered about 1,000 cubic feet per second below the full-service levels for the second half of the season.