Missouri River Flooding Intensifies: AIR

Flooding caused by heavy rain and melting snow is cresting in North Dakota and now threatens the downstream Missouri River including the possibility of reaching two nuclear power plants in Nebraska, according to a statement from Boston-based catastrophe modeling firm AIR Worldwide.

The river could remain above flood stage for days near North Dakota’s fourth-largest city, Minot, and is being fed from large storms and winter snow melt in the U.S. Midwest.

“Over the past month, the Upper Missouri River Basin has received record-high amounts of rainfall— nearly a year’s worth,” said Dr. Ioana Dima, a senior scientist at AIR said in a statement. “Combined with the above-normal melt water from the past winter’s heavy snowfall, the result is extremely high water levels along the river and in built-in reservoirs in Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota.”

A large storm system between June 19th and June 21st produced nearly six inches of rain across North Dakota and northern Nebraska that only added to the area troubles. “This weather pattern, defined by a strong low pressure system and its associated fronts, led to widespread severe storms that affected most of the Missouri River Valley as it moved eastward,” Dr. Dima.

Major concerns of flooding in Nebraska are two nuclear power stations located near the Missouri River; Fort Calhoun Nuclear Station and Cooper Nuclear Station. AIR said that although a berm collapsed near Fort Calhoun the Nuclear Regulatory Commission declared it safe. The Cooper facility, 20 miles from Fort Calhoun, has constructed a 10-foot wall to prevent flooding.

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