- Associated Press - Saturday, February 6, 2016

YANKTON, S.D. (AP) - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says the Missouri River mainstem reservoirs are ready for this year’s runoff season.

Corps officials say no significant flood risk exists in the upper basin at this time, the Yankton Press and Dakotan reported (http://bit.ly/1UTtjPB ).

Jody Farhat, chief of the Missouri River Basin Water Management Division, said the full flood control capacity of the Missouri River mainstem reservoir system is available for the 2016 runoff season, and flood control is the corps’ primary concern. All 2015 flood water has been evacuated from the mainstem reservoirs and the system is positioned well, though mountain snowpack can continue to accumulate over the next few months and normally peaks in mid-April.

“Ice conditions on the Missouri River will be monitored below Garrison, Oahe, and Gavins Point dams, and releases will be adjusted if necessary,” Farhat said in a release.

The National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center calls for an increased chance of above-normal temperatures in the basin through April with an increased chance for below-normal precipitation in the northern reaches.

Weather Service Hydrologist Kevin Low said snowpack could accumulate yet this season, particularly in the mountains. But even with this week’s snowfall of 12-18 inches in the region, the blizzard hasn’t created a dramatic difference for the entire basin.

“The impact on the plains snowpack is negligible,” he said.

Farhat said the Gavins Point Dam releases near Yankton are undergoing adjustments to prepare for the spring runoff.

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Information from: Yankton Press and Dakotan, http://www.yankton.net/

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