New flood forecast says to expect more water than in 1997, build levees to handle 3,200 cfsJamestown and Stutsman County should prepare for the same combined releases as they did during the 2009 floods, according to the Army Corps of Engineers, which changed its forecast for the James River and Pipestem Creek Friday.
By: Sun Staff, The Jamestown Sun
Jamestown and Stutsman County should prepare for the same combined releases as they did during the 2009 floods, according to the Army Corps of Engineers, which changed its forecast for the James River and Pipestem Creek Friday.
The corps’ had originally estimated releases of 1,800 cubic feet per second. The new forecast recommends building emergency levees to handle combined releases of 3,200 cfs from Jamestown and Pipestem reser-voirs — the same level the two dams released at the peaks of the 2009 flood.
According to the corps, the 0.5 to 1.5 inches of precipitation received in the James River Basin this week changed the situation and now reservoir pool levels could exceed 1997 levels, according to the “most likely” forecasts. The upper range of forecasts indicate reservoir pool levels could reach the same levels as in 2009, said Col. Robert J. Ruch, Omaha district commander for the corps.
Currently, both Jamestown and Pipestem Reservoirs are at normal wintertime levels near the base of the flood-control zone. The combined release rate is approximately 30 cfs, the corps said.
In 2009, Jamestown Reservoir reached its record-level peak April 26, as water drained through its “glory hole” spillway for the first time since its construction in the 1950s. Its prior record, set in May 1997, was more than eight feet lower. Pipestem Reservoir also set a new record elevation in spring 2009.
Officials will hold public meetings next week to discuss updated forecasts, planned releases and plans for emergency levees in Jamestown. The corps, Bureau of Reclamation and National Weather Service will continue to monitor snowpack conditions and provide updated forecasts as conditions change.
Current forecasts from the National Weather Service indicate a high probability of major flooding along the James River in areas downstream from Jamestown. The corps has developed plans for emergency lev-ees in LaMoure, N.D., and will award a contract in the next few days.
The corps said residents along the James River downstream from Jamestown should continue to monitor flood forecasts by the National Weather Service and make preparations as necessary to minimize damages from the forecasted high river levels.
Read more in Saturday's Sun