Body expects drought for Missouri River basin – RIVER COUNTRY
Severe drought dominates the river basin with an expansion of drought conditions forecast from southern Nebraska to Texas
Thursday, October 28, 2021, 12:54 p.m. CDT
NEBRASKA CITY – The US Army Corps of Engineers’ outlook for the Missouri River Basin includes extending drought conditions and the potential for management practices that include water conservation in reservoirs.
At its Nebraska City meeting on Tuesday, the body reported that 85 percent of the Missouri River watershed is currently in drought conditions. The area of ”exceptional drought” has increased by almost 5 percent since the start of the year.
The National Weather Service expects drought conditions to improve in the northern Rockies, but continue over most of the region and extend into Kansas and Texas.
The temperature outlook for Nebraska is “tilted above” normal from November to January and the Corps reports that 2021 is already on the 25th.e hottest year on record.
NOAA Winter Outlook through February: “Wetter than average conditions are expected in parts of the northern United States, primarily the Pacific Northwest, northern Rockies, Great Lakes, of Ohio and western Alaska. “
NOAA predicts that La Nina conditions will prevail, generally resulting in above-normal snowpack in the northern Rockies.
The body says the upstream reservoirs are down 6 million acre-feet of water from ideal storage for this time of year.
Soils are dry over much of the basin, so precipitation will seep in.
The body claims that even average precipitation would result in below average runoff.
The level of service for the 2022 navigation season will likely be lower than full service. Storage checks are scheduled for July 1 and March 15.
The body reports that flooding can still occur due to downstream precipitation.
The ability to reduce downstream levels is declining, according to the Corps, due to areas of “uncontrolled drainage,” including the Platte River Basin in Nebraska.
Farmer couples attended the meeting, as well as representatives of Senators Charles Grassley of Iowa and Ben Sasse of Nebraska.
Also in attendance was a representative from Iowa Congressman Cindy Axne and representatives from the Nebraska and Iowa Departments of Natural Resources.