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Published January 01 2013

Snowpack not likely to cause Missouri River flood

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — The snowpack in the northern Rocky Mountains is running slightly above average this winter, but South Dakota Climatologist Dennis Todey says there's little chance that snow could cause a repeat of the Missouri River flooding of 2011.

In 2011, the ground was saturated with rain from the previous autumn. A deep mountain snowpack and heavy spring rains caused the Army Corps of Engineers to release record amounts of water through the Missouri River dams, leading to several months of flooding.

But Todey tells the Argus Leader that the drought of 2012 has left the ground in much of South Dakota extremely dry, so it could absorb a lot of moisture. The amount of water held in the Missouri River's three largest reservoirs is lower than two years ago.