17 June 2011

The Great Missouri River flood of 2011

In the top photo, the river's normal banks are well defined by the vegetation.  The bottom photo shows Interstate 29 under about 10 feet of water.  Both pix from a 113-image collection in Larry Geiger's Picasa Web Album, via Paul Douglas On Weather blog, where he notes -
But that isn't even the full story. The Rocky Mountain snowpack in Montana is now beginning to melt in earnest. In places, that snowpack is at 140 percent of normal. All of that melt water is just going to pass through Fort Peck reservoir. Then there is the issue of rainfall. June is the wettest month of the year on the Northern Plains and within Montana. The rains are going to come. The National Weather Service has predicted above-average rainfall for June in Montana because of the presence of La Nina in the Pacific.


  1. Are you aware that the Ft Calhoun Nuclear Power Plant is in a Stage 4 emergency due to flooding? The FAA has put up restricted fly zone over the plant and the only news footage I can locate came from a local TV station that took a boat down the public waterway to film what was going on. There is a veritable U.S. news blackout about this and I've been reading it online in the Canadian and EU press.
    Bad things are happening...

  2. I should have said the plant is in Nebraska. I really hope and pray this is a false alarm.

  3. There are pix of the flooded nuclear plant in the link I provided.

  4. Unfortunately, those living in floodplains are going to increasingly be living under floods - not on plains.

    Yes, global Climate Change is real and happening now.

  5. This is what happens when we try to trap a mighty river inside tight banks. Especially when we build things that don't like getting wet on its banks...

  6. Every time I read about floods I wonder if people who build near rivers know the meaning of "flood plain".

  7. I've been doing a little nosing around, and this story appears to be like the one during the Deepwater Horizon crisis about the floor of the Gulf cracking open and releasing a deadly cloud of methane that was going to asphyxiate everybody. At least one very well-known Internet hoaxer and two or three Web sites that specialize in completely nutty scare stories are involved in magnifying the Fort Calhoun situation into apocalyptic proportions and attempting to spread panic.

    Just for instance, there have been no-fly zones over all nuclear power plants at all times since 9/11.

    According to the power plant company, the plant is not in a stage 4 emergency; it's declared a Notification of Unusual Event because of the threat of flooding, but there are currently no problems at the plant.

    I know we don't want to believe anything the power company says, but if we want to know what it's saying, it has a Flood Rumor Control section on its Web site:


    Seems to me possible that there aren't that many news stories not because there's a blackout but because there's almost no story, at least so far. Certainly a good idea to keep an eye on it, though.

    None of the above is to minimize the flooding disaster itself. The photos 'Stan linked to are amazing and shocking.

    --Swift Loris

  8. Something else to note -- The Fort Calhoun plant was shut down on April 12 for scheduled refueling and was not brought back online due to the impending flood.

  9. I do think it is amazing how very little coverage this is receiving nationally. I am originally from Nebraska and lived in Omaha for many years so, I am keeping my eye on this through watching the local papers from back home. Today, I live in the Washington, DC area - and the news on this is virtually void....but, we do seem to have 24/7 coverage of the Casey Anthony trial in Florida - go figure.??

  10. I agree. The mainstream media seem to pander to the lowest common demoninator of the viewing public.

  11. Non-news event? Seriously... The entire Missouri River basis in flooded. THOUSANDS are out of the homes, farm land underwater, There was coverage of a minor wind storm that prompted an evacuation of the College World Series. Saw that by the national news media in town, but no one showed the river that is flooding towns MILES from the river.

    The Levee system on the Missouri River is designed for surge control. Heavy rains that cause a rise in river levels for days, not months. Much of the farm land that feeds you all is underwater. This occurred in 1952 also, so its not unheard of, but since Omaha is not underwater, there is no story. Hmmm.. Tell Hamburg Iowa that.

  12. In September 1986 a stationary system kept funneling rain toward Chicago's west and north suburbs (among other areas). These photos remind me of the day I went to work and our facility's shipping docks in the western part North Chicago near the Des Plaines River had about 4 feet of water in them. When I sat down at my desk and looked eastward, all I could see out the window was water and a few bushes sticking up - all the way to the horizon.

    On the 25th of that month I drove south in Illinois to DuQuoin. Heading down I-57, the clouds were virtually CREAMING across the sky to the NE. They crossed the visible sky in something less than 90 seconds (my estimate) - if anything faster than that. The temps were around 50-55F, but the weather news said that DuQuoin was in the mid-80s. Still only 20 miles from DuQuoin, suddenly I reached the edge of the system. In perhaps 1-2 miles the temperature jumped from 55 to 85. I was going to the National Cardboard Boat Championships, and we were VERY concerned about whether the temps would be 55 or 85. We came in 5th.

    I've never seen clouds move so fast, and rarely have experienced such abrupt temperature change.

    The rain put me out of my engineering temp job, because the building ended up with 18 inches of water in my office and was shut down for two weeks. The timing was great, because my next job was the best job I've ever had.


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