The Missouri River flood of 2011 goes on and on and on because the river system is carrying more water—by far—than it has ever carried in recorded history. Some numbers from the Corps of Engineers explain why this flood is one for historic..
Imagine the states of Missouri and Tennessee covered by one foot of water and you might understand how much rainwater and snowmelt had to be held back to control flooding in Missouri. The Corps of Engineers was holding back almost 73,000,000 acre feet of water on July 1, an almost incomprehensible amount.
Imagine 326,000 one-gallon milk jugs full of water. That is ONE acre foot.
Water management chief Jody Farhat with the Corps says May, June, and July have been three of the five highest runoff months in the Corps’ Missouri River history. She says the combined runoff for the last three months has been more than the total annual runoff in 102 of the past 113 years.
That’s why Farhat thinks it will be almost October before the Corps has drained enough water out of the upstream reservoirs to let the Missouri River drop below flood stage across Missouri. It will take that long to drain enough water out of the six upstream reservoirs to make room for the next runoff.