Missouri River flood hits unprecedented flow rates

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:18 PM GMT on June 17, 2011

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The most expensive tornado/severe weather disaster in American history is the great May 21 - 26, 2011 storm that spawned the Joplin, Missouri EF-5 tornado. According to catastrophe modeling firm AIR Worldwide, insured damages from that storm will amount to $4 - $7 billion, the greatest damages ever for a spring severe weather outbreak. However, the damages from the huge, slow-moving low pressure system that spawned the Joplin tornado have not yet been fully realized. The powerful storm pumped huge quantities of warm, moisture-laden air from the Gulf of Mexico northwestwards into Montana, where the moisture condensed into record-breaking heavy rain and snow. In portions of eastern Montana, the storm brought a year's worth of precipitation in a week, swelling the tributaries of the Missouri River to unprecedented heights. Billings, Montana recorded 9.54" of precipitation in May, its single wettest month on record, and not far from its annual average precipitation of 14.5". A great 100-year flood has arrived along the Missouri River and its tributaries from Montana to Nebraska. Record spring rains, combined with snow melt from record or near-record winter and spring snows, brought the Missouri River at Williston, North Dakota to 30' today (June 17), two feet above the record crest set in 1912. Tributaries to the Missouri, such as the North Platte River in Nebraska, are also flooding at all-time record heights. With warm summer temperatures and 2 - 5" of rainfall expected over much of the area during the coming week, snow melt and rain runoff will swell area rivers even further, creating an even more dangerous flood.

Flooding along the Missouri River has already broken two levees and closed two portions of I-29, a key trucking route that extends from Kansas City through Iowa, South Dakota and North Dakota to the Canadian border. A 20-mile stretch between Council Bluffs and the Missouri Valley area is closed, as well as a 22-mile section in southwest Iowa and northwest Missouri, causing significant disruptions to the trucking industry.


Figure 1. Satellite image taken at 5:45pm CDT May 22, 2011, when the Joplin, Missouri tornado was occurring. The counter-clockwise flow of air around the spiraling low pressure system that caused the Joplin tornado drew large quantities of Gulf of Mexico air into Montana, creating record-breaking rains. Image credit: NASA/GSFC.



Figure 2. Levee breach along the Missouri River levee L-575 near Hamburg, Iowa, on June 14, 2011. The town of Hamburg is being protected by a new temporary levee. So far, only farmland has flooded. Image credit: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Army Corps cranks up water releases on Missouri River dams to double the previous record
Six flood control dams lie on the Missouri River between eastern Montana and Sioux City, Iowa; these dams were built between 1940 and 1964. As water from this spring's record precipitation have flowed into the Missouri River basin, the reservoirs behind these dams have risen to record levels. On May 31, the Army Corps of Engineers was forced to open the the spillway gates on the massive Garrison Dam, 50 miles northwest of Bismark, North Dakota. It was the first time since the dam was built in 1955 that the spillway gates were opened. (Remarkably, during 2007 and early 2008, Lake Sakakawea water levels behind Garrison Dam were the lowest since the dam was built--46 feet below the current level--thanks to a decade-long drought.) On June 3, as the record flood progressed downstream, the spillway gates on the Big Bend Dam opened for the first time since that dam was completed in 1964. This week, the Army Corps of Engineers increased water flowing through all six dams to more than double the previous highs set during the floods of 1975 and 1997. The flow rates are now a massive 150,000 cubic feet per second, 1.5 times greater than the typical flow of Niagara Falls. These extreme flow rates will need to be maintained into at least mid-August, and are expected to severely strain levees on the Missouri River as it flows through North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, and Kansas. According to a press conference put on by NWS and the Army Corps last week, the Missouri River flood control system is based on an 1881 estimate of the maximum amount of water an extreme flood season could generate--40 million acre-feet of water during the spring and summer flood season. However, this year's flood is expected to pump 42 - 43 million acre feet of water into the system, stressing it beyond its designed limits. In May alone, the Missouri River basin just upstream from Sioux City, Iowa, received 10.2 million acre feet of water, more than 25% above the previous May record of 7.2 million acre feet set in 1995. Additional levee failures along the Missouri are likely this summer, particularly if widespread heavy summer rains occur.


Figure 3. The Oahe Reservoir Stilling Basin north of Pierre, S.D., on June 5, 2011. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers increased the water releases from the Oahe Dam into the stilling basin to a record 147,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) of water release on June 8. The previous record was 59,000 cfs in 1997. Image credit: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers/ Carlos J. Lazo

Four-day period of critical fire conditions expected in the Southwest
Powerful southwest winds of 20 - 30 mph, gusting to 40 mph will continue through Saturday in Eastern Arizona and western New Mexico, making progress containing the region's severe fires difficult. Even worse conditions are begin predicted for Sunday, when NOAA's Storm Prediction Center forecasts forecasts that wind gusts up to 50 mph will occur. With hot conditions and humidity values below 10%, these are likely to be among the worst fire conditions the region has seen this year.

While the exceptional drought gripping Arizona is largely to blame for terrible fire conditions this year, unusually windy and dry weather has also been a significant factor. These windy and dry conditions have been caused, in part, by a stronger-than-average jet stream over the region. According to the National Weather Service in Phoenix, the period April-May 2011 was the 11th windiest and had the 6th lowest average relative humidity value on record in Phoenix. Combined, it was the 3rd windiest-driest April-May on record.

Our weather historian, Christopher C. Burt, has an interesting post on The Worst Wild Fires in World History. Arizona's Wallow Fire, at 750 square miles, has a long way to go before matching the largest fire in U.S. history, the great Peshtigo Fire of 1871. That fire burned 5,938 square miles of Wisconsin and Michigan.

Tallahassee hits 105°, their hottest day on record
On Wednesday June 15 at 307 PM EDT, the Tallahassee Regional Airport in Florida recorded a high temperature of 105 degrees. This temperature breaks the previous all time high temperature record for Tallahassee of 104 degrees, set most recently on June 20th 1933. The period of record for Tallahassee dates back to 1892.

The Atlantic is quiet
The Atlantic is quiet, with no tropical cyclones predicted over the next seven days by the reliable computer models. However, the GFS model predicts that moisture will begin increasing early next week in the western Gulf of Mexico, and a tropical disturbance could form next week in the Gulf, bringing much-needed rains to the coast of Texas. Droughts of the magnitude of the current Texas drought are hard to break, though, so I'd like to see more support from the models before believing in this forecast.

Have a great weekend everyone! I'll be back Monday with a new post.

Jeff Masters

ABANDONED For Wetland Project in Flood (BEME)
Another old farmstead,within the wetlands 'project'..near Highway 2 [to Nebraska City,Nebraska]..Water's getting higher. [photo taken Wednesday afternoon]
ABANDONED For Wetland Project in Flood
Won't be Open Much Longer (Nikongranny)
Highway 2 east of Nebraska City will be closing very soon.
Won't be Open Much Longer
Trying to Keep Ahead (Nikongranny)
of the approaching water. Crews working frantically building this earth berm to keep the advancing Missouri River out of Hamburg.
Trying to Keep Ahead

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Just what the Mississippi River does not need, more water. :(
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Good morning to all. It looks like we will have TD 2-E later today,unless it falls apart in the next few hours.

TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
500 AM PDT SUN JUN 19 2011

FOR THE EASTERN NORTH PACIFIC...EAST OF 140 DEGREES WEST LONGITUDE..

THUNDERSTORM ACTIVITY HAS CONTINUED TO INCREASE OVER THE PAST FEW
HOURS IN ASSOCIATION WITH AN AREA OF LOW PRESSURE LOCATED ABOUT 250
MILES SOUTH OF ACAPULCO MEXICO...AND A TROPICAL DEPRESSION COULD BE
FORMING. IF CURRENT TRENDS CONTINUE...ADVISORIES WILL LIKELY BE
INITIATED ON THIS SYSTEM LATER THIS MORNING. THERE IS A HIGH
CHANCE...90 PERCENT...OF THIS LOW BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE
DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS AS IT MOVES WEST-NORTHWESTWARD OR
NORTHWESTWARD AT ABOUT 10 MPH. INTERESTS ALONG THE SOUTHWESTERN
COAST OF MEXICO SHOULD MONITOR THE PROGRESS OF THIS SYSTEM AS IT
COULD BRING GUSTY WINDS AND HEAVY RAINS TO THE REGION DURING THE
NEXT COUPLE OF DAYS.

ELSEWHERE...TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION IS NOT EXPECTED DURING THE
NEXT 48 HOURS.

$$
FORECASTER BRENNAN
Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 14913
HAZARDOUS WEATHER OUTLOOK FOR SOUTH FLORIDA
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MIAMI FL
408 AM EDT SUN JUN 19 2011

FLZ063-066>075-168-172>174-192315-
GLADES-HENDRY-INLAND PALM BEACH-METRO PALM BEACH-COASTAL COLLIER-
INLAND COLLIER-INLAND BROWARD-METRO BROWARD-INLAND MIAMI DADE-
METRO MIAMI DADE-MAINLAND MONROE-COASTAL PALM BEACH-
COASTAL BROWARD-COASTAL MIAMI DADE-FAR SOUTH MIAMI DADE-
408 AM EDT SUN JUN 19 2011

...A FEW STRONG THUNDERSTORMS POSSIBLE ACROSS INTERIOR THIS AFTERNOON...
...HEAT INDICES FROM 100 TO 104 DEGREES POSSIBLE INTERIOR AREAS...

THIS HAZARDOUS WEATHER OUTLOOK IS FOR SOUTH FLORIDA.

.DAY ONE...TODAY AND TONIGHT

THUNDERSTORMS: SCATTERED THUNDERSTORMS ARE EXPECTED TO DEVELOP
THIS AFTERNOON AND EARLY EVENING...WITH MORE NUMEROUS ACTIVITY
EXPECTED IN THE NORTHERN INTERIOR AREAS NEAR LAKE OKEECHOBEE. A FEW
THUNDERSTORMS ACROSS THE INTERIOR MAY BECOME STRONG CONTAINING
STRONG WINDS AND SMALL HAIL.

WIND: WITH THE OCCURRENCE OF ANY THUNDERSTORMS, STRONG WINDS FROM 40
TO 55 MPH WILL BE POSSIBLE ACROSS THE INTERIOR THIS AFTERNOON AND
EARLY EVENING.

HAIL: SMALL HAIL SIZE WILL BE POSSIBLE ACROSS THE THE INTERIOR THIS
AFTERNOON AND EARLY EVENING.

TEMPERATURES: HEAT INDEX VALUES WILL PEAK BETWEEN 100 AND 104
DEGREES ACROSS PORTIONS OF INTERIOR SOUTH FLORIDA THIS AFTERNOON,
EXCEPT THE IMMEDIATE EAST AND WEST COASTS.
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The local new orleans channels had that wave coming in on the border of tx and la, hope that's true we need the rain.
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Today may be a bad one in Fireland:
7 states face extreme fire risk Sunday

Firefighters across the southwestern United States on Sunday could face some of the worst weather conditions of the season for battling blazes currently raging across the region.

The National Weather Service has issued a red flag warning for most of Arizona, all of New Mexico, much of north Texas and portions of Oklahoma, Colorado, Kansas and Utah for Sunday. A red flag warning means weather conditions -- mainly high heat, low humidity and strong winds -- pose an extreme fire risk.

"The winds certainly will be very gusty and strong," said Ken Daniel, NWS meteorologist in Flagstaff, Arizona. "Any new fire starts would have the potential to have explosive growth."

The forecast calls for winds of 30 mph or more in some areas, with gusts of up to 50 mph, Daniel said.

CNN.com Article...
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Quoting HadesGodWyvern:
Japan Meteorological Agency
Tropical Cyclone Advisory #17
TROPICAL DEPRESSION 05
15:00 PM JST June 19 2011
====================================

SUBJECT: Tropical Depression In Sea East Of The Philippines

At 6:00 AM UTC, Tropical Depression (1002 hPa) located at 17.6N 123.7E has 10 minute sustained winds of 30 knots with gusts of 45 knots. The depression is reported as moving north northwest at 10 knots.

Dvorak Intensity: T2.0

Forecast and Intensity
=======================
24 HRS: 20.1N 120.4E - 35 knots (CAT 1/Tropical Storm)

Additional Information
=======================

Tropical depression will move at the same speed for the next 24 hours

Tropical depression will move northwest for the next 24 hours

Tropical depression will be upgraded to tropical storm within 24 hours

Tropical depression will develop because cyclone will stay in high sea surface temperature area

Final Initial Dvorak number will be 2.5 after 24 hours

It ain't looking to good.
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Ah.... nothing like waking to the sounds of sweet, slowfalling rain.....

Morning all.....
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988. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Japan Meteorological Agency
Tropical Cyclone Advisory #17
TROPICAL DEPRESSION 05
15:00 PM JST June 19 2011
====================================

SUBJECT: Tropical Depression In Sea East Of The Philippines

At 6:00 AM UTC, Tropical Depression (1002 hPa) located at 17.6N 123.7E has 10 minute sustained winds of 30 knots with gusts of 45 knots. The depression is reported as moving north northwest at 10 knots.

Dvorak Intensity: T2.0

Forecast and Intensity
=======================
24 HRS: 20.1N 120.4E - 35 knots (CAT 1/Tropical Storm)

Additional Information
=======================

Tropical depression will move at the same speed for the next 24 hours

Tropical depression will move northwest for the next 24 hours

Tropical depression will be upgraded to tropical storm within 24 hours

Tropical depression will develop because cyclone will stay in high sea surface temperature area

Final Initial Dvorak number will be 2.5 after 24 hours
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986. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
RSMC Miami National Hurricane Center
Tropical Cyclone Outlook
11:00 PM PDT June 18 2011
======================================

Recent satellite data indicate the large low pressure system centered about 300 miles south southeast of Acapulco has continued to become better defined. Although thunderstorm activity has changed little over the past several hours.. Environmental conditions are expected to remain somewhat favorable for tropical depression to form as early as Sunday evening

Interest along the southwest coast of Mexico should monitor the progress of this disturbance over the next few days

Tropical Cyclone Formation Potential
====================================
There is a HIGH chance of this disturbance to form into a tropical cyclone within the next 48 hours
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Quoting Levi32:
One can see the monsoon trough creeping northward towards central America on the Hovmoller diagram.

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984. JRRP

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Northeast Broward County here in South Florida. I swear I have never seen it so dry here. Today it literally rained everywhere around us but here. If we don't start getting some rain very soon, things are going to get real bad. I have never seen the vegetation look so dry and dead. I pray something tropical brings us relief in the next couple of weeks!
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nhc says no development over the next 48 hours, not a surprise there

atmosphere is getting there, its more moist, but its still going to take time to get something going.
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7874
Quoting seasonbust2011:
yes and its going to continue until that trough from the rockies weakens the high then you guys will get some relief...that should be in the next 6 days,,,


That's what we're hoping for. The NOGAPS is funny. It sends a blob towards the upper TX coast that disappears right before it reaches here. But it does show some precip from the trough. Link
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Quoting seasonbust2011:
at home in texas i dont know what section you live in but if you live in the middle or lower texas coast you can expect tons of rain from the tropics this year whether it be from a depression or major hurricane...the bermuda azores high is setting up to give you guys a busy tropical season...if you live in the upper texas coast a little relief not much though...


I'm on the the upper coast of course. But no telling what will happen. It's the upper high that's been giving the whole state the drought. We've had a steady sse/se/s wind for months.
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Quoting beell:
I don't understand all of it either, AtHome. But sometimes I get the right answer anyway.

The slicker stays on till I get an uninterrupted one inch rain-and I sure don't want to "wear" it all summer!


Hopefully you can slip into something more comfortable in a few days. Lol.
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Sometimes there just are no words...sigh :(

Investigators believe target practice is the source of Wildfire
June 18, 2011 10:39 PM
Ashley Gaston Link

Jasper County Sheriff Mitchel Newman says a wildfire that burned out of control near Lake Sam Rayburn in north Jasper County on Saturday, may have been caused by people shooting at propane tanks. The blaze began shortly after 2:00 on Saturday afternoon near the area of County Road 82, and Highway 63 West.

According to Sheriff Newman, a Texas Forest Service crew discovered a cooler full of ice and beer, and two propane tanks that were apparently being used for target practice. Newman said it appears that one of the propane tanks caused the fire, and the suspects fled the area, leaving their cooler behind.
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970. beell
I don't understand all of it either, AtHome. But sometimes I get the right answer anyway.

The slicker stays on till I get an uninterrupted one inch rain-and I sure don't want to "wear" it all summer!
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Quoting beell:
760. HarryMc 9:53 PM GMT on June 18, 2011

I've had this in the file for may years. May finally be of use to somebody.

The algorithms are FORTRAN but they read easy. Many of the variables will yield to using nothing more than paper, pencil and a scientific calculator. Integration required for geopotential height may be a little ambitious for the geopotential thickness of more than one level without some computational help. But hey, some people like crossword puzzles!

Used to have many of these functions in MS Excel and after that, Visual Basic-but that was a couple of computers ago. If you have MS Office you got VB.

Geopotential height is the last function given.
(and it requires the dewpoint to calculate the mixing ratio...)

Have fun!



UMMM? I love crossword puzzles! But that's about all I understood of that. Lol. Good evening everyone. Nice to see the slicker still keeping the faith. :)
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Changing Tides: Research Center Under Fire for 'Adjusted' Sea-Level Data

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2011/06/17/research -center-under-fire-for-adjusted-sea-level-data/#ix zz1Ph12lkgx

Is climate change raising sea levels, as Al Gore has argued -- or are climate scientists doctoring the data?

The University of Colorado’s Sea Level Research Group decided in May to add 0.3 millimeters -- or about the thickness of a fingernail -- every year to its actual measurements of sea levels, sparking criticism from experts who called it an attempt to exaggerate the effects of global warming.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2011/06/17/research -center-under-fire-for-adjusted-sea-level-data/#ix zz1Ph20wPD6
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Just, Puhleez bring some rain into SW Louisiana and SE Texas.. Rain Dance? Whatever it takes but local mets are calling for rain Tuesday through Thursday.
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965. beell
Quoting Hurricanes101:
The wave near the Islands may not develop by itself, but it could be a key player in the eventual development that might happen in the NW Caribbean/GOM in a week to 10 days.


Maybe a little sooner at 15 knots.

TROPICAL WEATHER DISCUSSION
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
805 PM EDT SAT JUN 18 2011

THE TROPICAL WAVE ALONG 55W/56W WILL MOVE INTO THE E CARIBBEAN EARLY SUN TO
THE CENTRAL CARIBBEAN ON MON REACHING THE W CARIBBEAN TUE.

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964. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
India Meteorological Department
Tropical Cyclone Advisory #15
DEPRESSION BOB02-2011
5:30 AM IST June 19 2011
===================================

At 0:00 AM UTC, The deep depression over Gangetic West Bengal has moved further westwards and weaken into a depression. Depression BOB02-2011 lays centered near 23.0N 85.5E, close to the east of Ranchi.

The system would move west-northwestwards and weaken gradually.
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963. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Philippines Atmospheric Geophysical Astronomical Services And Administration
Tropical Cyclone Bulletin #10
TROPICAL DEPRESSION EGAY
11:00 AM PhST June 19 2011
=======================================

Tropical Depresssion "EGAY" has maintained its strength and direction as it threatens Cagayan area.

At 10:00 AM PhST, Tropical Depression Egay located at 17.2°N 123.8°E or 170 km east northeast of Casiguran, Aurora has 10 minute sustained winds of 30 knots. The depression is reported as moving northwest at 8 knots.

Signal Warnings
=================

Signal Warning #1
-------------

Luzon Region
-----------
1. Aurora
2. Quirino
3. Nueva Vizcaya
4. Ifugao
5. Mt. Province
6. Isabela
7. Cagayan
8. Calayan
9. Babuyan Group of Islands
10. Batanes Group of Islands
11. Kalinga
12. Abra
13. Apayao
14. Ilocos Norte

Additional Information
======================
Public Storm Warning Signals elsewhere are now lowered.

Residents in low lying and mountainous areas under signal # 1 are alerted against possible flash floods and landslides.

TD EGAY is expected to enhance the Southwest Monsoon and will bring rains over the Western section of Central and of Southern Luzon and of Visayas.

The public and the disaster coordinating councils concerned are advised to take appropriate actions and watch for the next bulletin to be issued at 5 p.m. today and the hourly updates.
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It's interesting to watch the satellite of the eastern Pacific. The monsoonal SW flow coming around invest 92E is particularly strong, and seems to be pushing northward towards southeastern Mexico, not fully bound to 92E's circulation. As 92E remains weak and drifts west, I think this monsoonal flow will remain and keep pushing north, eventually affecting the Bay of Campeche within a few days. That's where the energy is focused right now. It is this northward push of the monsoon trough that could spark trouble, combined with those two tropical waves.
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The wave near the Islands may not develop by itself, but it could be a key player in the eventual development that might happen in the NW Caribbean/GOM in a week to 10 days.
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7874
Pretty cool, the hovmoller....
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Hey Everyone! So what have I missed? Have been working in Memphis all week and didn't have any chance to check in. Just got back to Austin, and I learned that I had missed The Hottest week recorded in June For Austin. 105 All week! Next week will be much nicer for us with Temps back in the mid 90's and RAIN, Thats right you heard me Texans, R.A.I.N. RAIN!
*Bright Light Shines From Sky*
Hallelujah! Its A Miracle!
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One can see the monsoon trough creeping northward towards central America on the Hovmoller diagram.

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Quoting stormpetrol:
I say the tropical wave passing through the windwards probably has the best shot at TD status so far this season in the Atlantic.


Not really, while it has favorable conditions and good upper divergence, it lacks lower convergence, model support, and any circulation at the 850 mb level. Development is very unlikely, ~0%.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24579

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Models are far from garbage, that" throw them out the window" by me was simply to say you can't worship them , only rely on them for guidance which isn't so reliable as they shift with the tide even at 50/50 , which I think the models are below that, I personally think too many hang their hats on models just a bit too much, just my personal opinion of course, take it with a grain of salt
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I say the tropical wave passing through the windwards probably has the best shot at TD status so far this season in the Atlantic.
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Quoting 1911maker:
Article talks about how the corp of engineers was not allowed to manage the pool levels for flood control which has led to/contributed to the flooding.

http://www.npr.org/2011/06/18/137266815/who-gets- flooded-a-by-the-book-decision

Link


A quote from the article:

"Some are easy to follow, like flood control, but others are more difficult to navigate, like keeping reservoirs full even when there's heavy snowpack, so tourists can take boats out and power companies can use water flow."

Another government excuse. We can't do anything beacause we have this rule. What these rules really do is provide an excuse for not having to think (or, not having to do any work). I am sorry, but it is obvious that the current flooding problem on the Missouri could have been reduced in its severity with just a little forethought and some gutsy action.

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Quoting CosmicEvents:
All true!
I dated a few models back in the day.

Lmao , you hit the nail on the head tonight, of course aren't we all entitled to our own opinion without a big squabble , whether right or wrong! I must say so far so good with this blog this year, alot more civilized than in previous ones, everyone holding their owm in a good way and being civil about it. Thumbs up!!
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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