Residents along the Missouri River basin are gearing up for planned flooding of the area. Later this week the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will instruct federal water managers to increase controlled-water reservoir spills at dams along the Missouri River, causing widespread Midwest flooding.
Who Will Get Flooded
States affected include Iowa, Montana, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming. States with major water tributaries feeding from the Missouri River are also expecting to flood. This includes areas of Idaho flanking the Columbia River, according to a May 30 Reuters news report.
Preparing for Floods
The only positive aspect of the impending Midwest flooding is its planned nature. Residents can build sandbag barricades, reinforce manmade levees, tarp their homes with plastic sheeting, move personal belongings out of their homes and seek shelter on higher ground.
When flash flooding occurs, residents usually have just minutes to protect themselves and their property. In a way, residents should appreciate the planned flooding. If rivers controlled with spillways and dams to buy people time to prepare for the Midwest floods -- that's a good thing.
When panicked, people drive on flooded roadways, get stranded by washed out bridges and may drown. Hopefully the planned flooding reduces the number of injuries, deaths and property damage that would have occurred if the Missouri River flooded naturally.
The Benefits of Planned Flooding
The planned flood should reduce pressure on six dams and avert uncontrolled Midwest flooding. Residents of North Dakota started evacuating over Memorial Day weekend. National Guard soldiers are filling sand bags in Montana, Wyoming and South Dakota. The Northwestern Iowa towns of Sloan and Sioux City have scheduled community sandbagging parties.
Winter snow melt and heavy Spring rains have contributed to the overflowing reservoirs. As storms move through the Midwest water levels are increasing and localized flooding is already causing problems. Road closures across Southeast South Dakota and Northwest Iowa are increasing daily.