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U.S. ARMY CORPS TRIPLES GAVINS POINT DAM WATER RELEASES TO 100,000 CFS (Update)

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The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dramatically increased water releases from Yankton’s Gavins Point Dam into the Missouri river Thursday night.

Water releases were increased to 100,000 cubic feet per second at midnight as unregulated inflows from the Niobrara and other watersheds continue to spill into the reservoir.

Gavins Point Dam releases were increased to 32,000 cfs at midnight Wednesday and 37,000 cfs Thursday morning.

Operators at Gavins Point are using 12 of the 14 spillway bays and the powerhouse to pass the flows.

The remaining two spillway gates are partially open, but frozen in place due to ice buildup.

Operators are spilling water over those two gate in an effort to thaw them and return them to operating condition, which dam safety engineers believe presents no risk to the structure or the gates nor does it affect the Corps’ ability to safely pass water pass the structure.

The water being released from Gavins Point is exclusively from unregulated tributaries that bring water into the reservoir.

On Wednesday, the Corps stopped all releases from Fort Randall Dam, the next dam upstream on the Missouri River mainstem, to reduce the amount of water in the lower Missouri River.

However, because there is very little storage capacity behind Gavins Point, the Corps says most of what is flowing into the reservoir must be released downstream.

Communities from Sioux City, Iowa to St. Louis continue to experience flooding, or the threat of flooding, due to runoff from the numerous rivers and creek through the lower section of the Missouri River.

Updated 5:29 a.m. 3/15/19

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As flooding continues in northwest Iowa and northeast Nebraska, the U.S. Army Corps of engineers has increased water releases from Gavins Point Dam near Yankton to 50,000 cubic feet per second and will increased them to 60,000 cfs by Friday.

The corps says the increased releases are necessary due to continued rising inflow into the Gavins Point reservoir.

Gavins Point Dam releases were increased to 32,000 cfs at midnight Wednesday and 37,000 cfs Thursday morning.

The runoff in the drainage area between Fort Randall and Gavins Point Dam is very high, and continues to increase, due to rapid plains snowmelt and heavy rain on frozen, wet soils in the Niobrara River basin.

The area directly upstream Gavins Point continues to receive heavy rain.

John Remus, chief of the Corps’ Missouri River Water Management Division in Omaha says “We know there are communities experiencing flooding, or nearing that condition, along the Missouri downstream of our dams, We are managing releases from Gavins Point as judiciously as we can in order to lessen the impact downstream.”

Remus says there is very little storage capacity behind Gavins Point Dam, forcing the Corps to release much of the water that enters the reservoir.

Releases from Fort Randall Dam, the Missouri main stem dam immediately upstream of Gavins Point Dam, were reduced to zero Wednesday and are expected to remain at zero for the next several days.