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The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a hydrologic outlook for Burleigh and Morton Counties regarding the potential for the Missouri River to freeze over by early next week. The outlook is available on the NWS website at: Hydrologic Outlook for Missouri River
“When the Missouri River freezes over, it’s normal to see water levels increase in the Bismarck-Mandan area by several feet,” said Bruce Engelhardt, of the State Water Commission. “We don’t anticipate that there will be any problems when the river ices over. However, people should continue to watch for NWS alerts and monitor river conditions, because there is always some risk when the ice forms, and again when it moves out in the spring.”
“Following the flood events we’ve seen on the Missouri River system in recent years, people are increasingly aware of changing river conditions,” continued Engelhardt. “And they like to know why those changes are occurring.”
In their December 18 outlook, the NWS indicated that by the coming weekend, forecasted highs in the teens, and lows near zero will likely result in the formation of ice on the Missouri River. The outlook also went on to say that when icing over occurs, Missouri River levels near town normally increase by four to seven feet.
“The Water Commission, Weather Service, and Corps will continue to monitor conditions on the Missouri River as temperatures decline,” said Engelhardt. “And with the new gage that was installed south of town, we’re in a much better position to quickly, and more accurately identify changing river levels – including those related to ice formation.”
The NWS encourages people who observe what they believe to be excessive rises, or problematic high water associated with the Missouri River, to contact their local emergency management office.“There is currently no reason to believe we’ll see any flood-related problems resulting from the Missouri icing over,” emphasized Engelhardt. “But ice jams can be unpredictable, and for that reason, when it comes to information – more is always better.”
The Bismarck Burleigh Emergency Management office can be reached at (701) 222-6727.
Bismarck/Mandan Missouri River Ice Monitoring