Missouri River Flood Coordination Task Force Report, September 25, 2011

(2011) Missouri River Flood Coordination Task Force Report, September 25, 2011. Public Health, Department of (Health and Human Services, Department of)


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The Missouri River floods of 2011 will go down in history as the longest duration flooding event this state has seen to date. The combination of above normal snowfall in the upper Missouri River basin followed by the equivalent of nearly one year’s worth of rainfall in May created an above normal runoff situation which filled the Missouri River and the six main reservoirs within the basin. Compounding this problem was colder than normal temperatures which kept much of the snowpack in the upper basin on the ground longer into the spring, setting the stage for this historic event. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) began increasing the outflow at Gavin’s Point, near Yankton, South Dakota in May. On June 14, 2011, the outflow reached a record rate of over 160,000 cubic feet per second (cfs), over twice the previous record outflow set in 1997. This increased output from Gavin’s Point caused the Missouri River to flow out of its banks covering over 283,000 acres of land in Iowa, forcing hundreds of evacuations, damaging 255,000 acres of cropland and significantly impacting the levee system on the Missouri River basin. Over the course of the summer, approximately 64 miles of primary roads closed due to Missouri River flooding, including 54 miles of Interstate Highway. Many county secondary roads were closed by high water or overburdened due to the numerous detours and road closures in this area. As the Missouri River levels began to increase, municipalities and counties aided by State and Federal agencies began preparing for a sustained flood event. Citizens, businesses, state agencies, local governments and non‐profits made substantial preparations, in some cases expending millions of dollars on emergency protective measures to protect their facilities from the impending flood. Levee monitors detected weak spots in the levee system in all affected counties, with several levees being identified as at risk levees that could potentially fail. Of particular concern was the 28 miles of levees protecting Council Bluffs. Based on this concern, Council Bluffs prepared an evacuation plan for the approximately 30,000 residents that resided in the protected area. On May 25, 2011, Governor Branstad directed the execution of the Iowa Emergency Response Plan in accordance with Section 401 of the Stafford Act. On May 31, 2011, HSEMD Administrator, Brigadier General J. Derek Hill, formally requested the USACE to provide technical assistance and advanced measures for the communities along the Missouri River basin. On June 2, 2011 Governor Branstad issued a State of Iowa Proclamation of Disaster Emergency for Fremont, Harrison, Mills, Monona, Pottawattamie, and Woodbury counties. The length of this flood event created a unique set of challenges for Federal, State and local entities. In many cases, these organizations were conducting response and recovery operations simultaneously. Due to the length of this entire event, the State Emergency Operations Center and the local Emergency Operations Centers remained open for an extended period of time, putting additional strain on many organizations and resources. In response to this disaster, Governor Branstad created the Missouri River Recovery Coordination Task Force to oversee the State’s recovery efforts. The Governor announced the creation of this Task Force on October 17, 2011 and appointed Brigadier General J. Derek Hill, HSEMD Administrator as the chairman. This Task Force would be a temporary group of State agency representatives and interested stakeholders brought together to support the recovery efforts of the Iowa communities impacted by the Missouri River Flood. Collectively, this group would analyze and share damage assessment data, coordinate assistance across various stakeholders, monitor progress, capture best practices and identify lessons learned.

Item Type: Departmental Report
Keywords: Missouri River, Flood, Flood Force Report
Subjects: Natural resources and environment > Ecology
Natural Disasters > Flood
Natural Disasters
ID Code: 14198
Deposited By: Margaret Barr
Deposited On: 01 Feb 2013 15:17
Last Modified: 12 Mar 2014 13:38
URI: https://publications.iowa.gov/id/eprint/14198