Work To Fix Levees Now Underway Amid Flooding

07:12PM Mar 28, 2019
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The Missouri River has crested in Missouri. The water is now moving toward the Mississippi River, but the concern is far from over.

Along the Missouri River alone it's estimated flooding has caused at least $3 billion in damage. The National Weather Service forecast says significant rain is possible later in the week and people are bracing for what could be another round of flooding.

Travis Matthews farms in Carroll County, near the Missouri River. He says there will be several acres that won't get planted because of all the levee breaks.

"Our biggest concern is what's coming in the next couple of weeks with all this new melt coming from the north," says Matthews. "There are plenty of breaks that will make the river spread out, but we've got two more months of this I'm afraid." 
      
Portions of South Dakota are also dealing with severe flooding. Flooding in the southern part of the state cut off water supplies to the sprawling Pine Ridge Reservation swamping roads and trapping people in homes. The governor sent National Guard soldiers to the reservation over the weekend to help distribute drinking water and get people to safety.

Wisconsin's Governor also toured the Fond Du Lac area. Several hundred people were evacuated from their homes because of ice-jam flooding along the Fond du Lac River earlier this month. That's when the Governor declared a state of emergency for much of the state as heavy rain and melting snow flooded roads, fields and communities.
 
You may remember parts of Wisconsin and Minnesota saw record snows in February. The Thompson farm near Lewiston, Minnesota received 54" of snow in February. For the first time in two generations, the family was forced to dump milk because trucks couldn't make it to the farm.

Mitch Thompson says they expect a slow, wet start to spring.

"[The ground is] pretty well frozen but I think it's going to be very soft, very wet in the spring here and we were so wet last fall that it pushed a lot of chisel plowing and fall plowing off," says Thompson. "So there's a lot of ground that's not worked yet and that is going to need to be worked you know before we even can start to get the corn in the ground."

Work has already started in Nebraska to repair those damaged levees. Near Valley, Nebraska on the Union Dike levee along on the Platte River, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the breach is now closed. The Crops says there are more than 350 miles of levees on the Missouri, Platte, and Elkhorn Rivers and tributaries that have experienced significant flood damage. 

Tyne Morgan talked with Ken McCauley of White Cloud Kansas. He lives near the levee break in Highland, Kansas along the Missouri River.

"[Flooding] this early is just a record to me," says McCauley. "The fact that we've got so much water, this early, that's the reason these grain bins are still full because usually, most guys try to get them emptied out before the really rainy season."

The Army Corps of Engineers reports 52 full or partial breaches in the region and it says repairs will take time.

Flooding Update 032819