The Kansas City area probably will see more rain today and Saturday, forecasters say, but it shouldn’t do much to elevate the already surging Missouri River.
“The amount of rain we’re expecting (this weekend) is rather minor compared to the amount of water being released upstream,” said Mark O’Malley, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Pleasant Hill.
O’Malley said that if there is moderate rain this weekend, it’s going to be “pretty scattered” and not widespread enough to create concern. About a half-inch of rain was expected in the Kansas City area Thursday and today.
“You would need several inches — at least two inches — over a fairly large area of the Missouri River Basin between Kansas City up to Omaha to really make a difference,” O’Malley said.
The water being released upstream at Gavins Point Dam in South Dakota hit an unprecedented release rate of 150,000 cubic feet of water per second on Tuesday. The rate — more than double the previous high in 1997 — is expected to continue through at least mid-July.
In advance of the releases, the Army Corps of Engineers assembled anticipated flood ranges for areas along the river. For Kansas City, the range is 30 to 39 feet; flood stage is 32 feet.
“If we just have normal precipitation for June and July we can expect that low end,” said Jud Kneuvean, Kansas City district chief of emergency management for the Army Corps.
After a brief dip, the Missouri River is going back up, Kneuvean said. The river level dipped slightly after two levees were breached in northwest Missouri early in the week.
River levels in the Kansas City area will be up about 1.3 feet by Monday and 2.2 feet by Wednesday, he said. The river was at almost 26 feet in Kansas City at 11 a.m. Thursday. It is expected to reach about 28.1 feet by midday Wednesday.
“It’s really not precipitation driven; that’s the flow getting to us,” he said.
The St. Joseph area expects to feel the impact of the released flows late this weekend. The area is expected to hit its first voluntary evacuation level — 25 feet — about 11 p.m. Sunday, said J. Bruce Woody, public works director. St. Joseph’s flood stage is 17 feet.
With the height of the water releases expected to hit starting next week, Platte County is preparing to start sandbag operations for the Farley Levee District on Monday. Sandbags will be placed on the levee from Beverly to Leavenworth. Volunteers and inmates were sandbagging Thursday in Levasy in eastern Jackson County.
Surging waters have the Missouri Department of Transportation watching Missouri 45 near Farley and Missouri 24 in Lafayette County this weekend.
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