KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has declared an end to flooding problems on the lower Missouri River and is beginning to assess what repairs will be needed.
Col. Andrew Sexton, district commander of the corps' Kansas City district, was visiting damaged areas Friday after announcing Thursday that the flooding had ceased on a span of the river that stretches from Rulo, Nebraska, to the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers in the St. Louis area.
The corps was on heightened alert for months this spring and summer as heavy rains fell across a large area of the central Plains, causing river levels to repeatedly rise and fall. Across much of northeast Kansas and northern Missouri, rainfall levels were from 5 inches to more than 10 inches above normal from May to July, said Scott Watson, a service hydrologist for the National Weather Service. Farmland, roads and low-lying parkland were inundated, although the flooding was mostly classified as minor to moderate.
Operators of levees and other flood-control structures have until Sept. 11 to submit repair requests. For non-federal structures to benefit from the federal repair help, they must participate in a program that requires routine inspections.
"We expect the damages to be minimal, yet won't know until the inspections and feedback from the public," said Jud Kneuvean, emergency management chief for the corps' Kansas City district, in a written statement.
Tom Waters, chairman of the Missouri Levee & Drainage District Association, said there was erosion and there will need to be seeding and repairs along the river.
"I don't think it's going to be awful," said Waters, whose farm near the western Missouri town of Orrick was among those that Sexton visited. "It's going to be higher than a normal year because of the amount of water we've had. The thing about this year is the river was up and it was back down and then it was up. That up and down action is what causes erosion. But it's nothing like 2011. There's just going to be some work that needs to be done."
In 2011, a year still fresh on the minds of Midwestern farmers, the Missouri River rose to record levels after the corps began releasing massive amounts of water from upstream reservoirs that had been inundated with melting snow and heavy rains. The onslaught lasted for more than 100 days, busting levees and flooding farmland.