Missouri River Water Levels Reach a High of 13 Feet

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As predicted by the Army Corps of Engineers, Missouri River levels reached a high of 13 feet today.

That comes after the Corps decided to release water at 60,000 CFS by the end of the weekend.

Renée Cooper spent the day visiting various places along the riverbank and gives us an update on what to expect.

Bismarck resident Bernie Nielsen shares, “I’ve seen the river get this high several times now over the years. It’s bound to happen. I mean, we never can predict what our run-off is going to be.”

Morton County Emergency Manager Tom Doerhing says the biggest potential for concern would be if we get heavy winds in the next couple weeks. He says that was a huge factor in the 2011 floods.

Doerhing explains, “I haven’t seen any forecasts for prolonged high winds, but it would be a concern because this river’s going to stay at or around 13 feet for quite some time.”

Additional rain could also affect the water level.

Doerhing adds, “A significant rainfall that would affect either the Missouri River out in Montana or the Yellowstone River in Montana, and that would change the Corps’ discharge rate.”

The Burleigh County Highway Department has started operating the Tavis Flood Structure.

Gates on the west side of Fox Island have been closed and the pumps are working to lower the water levels on the east side.

The plan is to keep the water level at 13 feet until the Army Corps finishes releasing water into the Missouri River on July 15th.

Doerhing assures, “It should stay constant at 13 feet, barring any other unforeseen circumstances.”

At the blocked off Fox Island Boat Ramp, it wasn’t a good day for fishing. But the Nielson family wasn’t too concerned with the high water levels.

Father, Bernie Nielson says, “People just have to learn to deal with it. It’s part of nature. They’ve got to release it somewhere so it’s got to come here.”

A few boaters were out today as well. Doerhing advises extra caution due to the fallen trees floating in the fast current.

Doerhing says no one knows just yet if the Army Corps of Engineers will continue to release water from the dam after the 15th. Right now, that’s as far as their forecast goes. 

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