Missouri River waters roaring downstream from Gavins Point Dam

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June 5, 2011 - 7:00pm

For a map of potential flooding between Sioux City and Omaha, click here.

For a map of potential flooding between Omaha and Rulo, click here.

More areas along the Missouri River are being flooded, as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers releases more water from its dams.

At Gavins Point dam between Nebraska and Yankton, South Dakota, more than a hundred thousand cubic feet of water per second is coming through the spillway gates, looking like huge kiddy slides full of green-grey water coming down and then roiling into a mass at the bottom.

"This is an unprecedented flood event on the Missouri River, and it's not just affecting Gavin's Point Dam, it's affecting everyone upstream and downstream," said Karla Zeutenhorst of the Army Corps of Engineers.

Before this year, Zeutenhorst said, the most water ever released from Gavins Point was 70 thousand cubic feet per second. It was scheduled to reach 120 thousand by Monday night, and is expected to peak at 150 thousand cubic feet per second by mid-June.

Peering down from Calumet Bluff overlooking the dam on the Nebraska side, Phyllis Kubal of Yankton said she's never seen it like this before. Kubal's memories go back to the dam's beginnings.

"I was in high school when they built this, and I was in the band when we had the dedication opening ceremonies here. So I remember it from before they even started," she said.

Kubal's husband, Bernard, remembers flooding before that. "(In the) early Fifties a big flood came through, flooded Yankton; Highway 50 was under water east of Yankton," he said.

Phyllis Kubal says the dam has solved those problems, until now. "I have reflected back to their promotional propaganda - I don't know, maybe that isn't the right word for it, but - when they were telling about what these dams would do, they said that downstream, you'd never have to worry about flooding again. That stands out very clearly in my mind," she saids with a chuckle.

The extent to which that prediction holds true will be seen in the coming weeks and months.

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