Missouri River Levels Rising as Ice Jams Begin to Form

News
The 60 and 70 degree days of November seem long gone, as temperatures have taken quite the plunge over the last couple weeks.
This means the Missouri River is going under some changes.
Ben Smith has the story.
 
 
Just about a week ago, the Missouri River was over 40 degrees.
Now, it’s right at the point of freezing.
 
“So we’re forming all this sheet ice and it’s moving down stream.  Lake Oahe is not yet fully froze over but before it even gets to lake Oahe, this ice has to find a way to get by the bends in the river down by the University of Mary, and the reality is it probably wont,” says Schlag
 
Ice has begun to block the river.
While water continues to flow through Bismarck, down South it’s at a standstill.
Which means water is rapidly rising.
 
“Over the last 36 hours, the river has come up about 2.5 feet, and that’s really not the end of that.  We’re going to continue to see the river rising, probably another 3 feet would be expected,” he says
 
It’s nowhere near a level that would cause damage.
Flood stage is at 14 feet.
But it can cause quite a shock.
 
“Even a quick 3-4 foot rise, will often times create concern with people, the river level is low yesterday, all of a sudden, bang I came home today, look out at the window, and the water is up 3,4 feet,” says Schlag
 
Standup:  It can be alarming to some people but Schlag says it is a natural occurrence and it pretty much happens every year.  And there’s not much you can do about it except wait for nature to take it’s course.
 
“You kind of have to play itself out, there really is no preventative measure we can take to alleviate the water level roses.  Bottom line is once the level does rise, what happens is the moving water underneath smoothes out bottom, and water level declines over the week,” says Schlag
 
He says this type of event has never caused any significant home damage in the Bismarck area.
 
Schlag says it’s the most dangerous kind of ice and while some pieces look strong enough to float on, he says avoid going on the river.
 

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