Flood risk appears lower on Missouri River at start of 2021

Associated Press
FILE - In this Oct. 22, 2019 file photo, a home is surrounded by Missouri River floodwaters in Bartlett, Iowa.

OMAHA — The risk for flooding along the Missouri River appears lower than normal headed into the year because the ground remains dry across most of the region and snowpack levels are generally below average.

Officials with the Corps of Engineers and National Weather Service cautioned Thursday that it is still early in the year and conditions can change. But currently it appears that 2021 will be somewhat drier and only about 90% of the normal amount of water is expected to flow down the Missouri River. 

That is welcome news for areas along the river where levees damaged during 2019's flooding are still waiting to be repaired. The widespread flooding that year along the Missouri River damaged dozens of levees and inundated thousands of acres of farmland in parts of Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa and Missouri.

For instance, in northwest Missouri's Holt County emergency manager Tom Bullock hopes construction crews will be able to repair the main levees protecting the area before this spring's flood season begins.

"You never know what Mother Nature is going to do. But she has been pretty good to us since the flood (of 2019). I hope it stays that way until they can get the levees fixed," Bullock said.