Missouri River likely to see lower levels

A hydrologist says dry conditions persist as the Missouri River navigation season begins and there will likely be lower river levels again this year.

Kevin Lau with the National Weather Service’s Missouri Basin River Forecast Center tells Brownfield the situation is better than it was last year, but once the seasonal increased flow moves through, not much moisture will follow, “Closing in on the end of the snow accumulation period and yet we are, I would say, on average, about 75% of normal, as far as mountain snowpack, and mountain snowpack drives the annual run-off of the Missouri River.”

He says there wasn’t any snowpack across the Plains either this year and warm, dry conditions are expected again this summer, “Farmer and ranchers and municipalities, I think they need to bank on the fact that it’s going to be on the low end of normal. It’s just going to be reservoir releases that will provide the water levels.”

The low levels will affect farmers using the river for irrigation and it might also affect navigation. Lau also says there will be less water flowing from the Missouri River to the lower Mississippi River.

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