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Warm Weather Leads to Increasing releases from Jamestown, Pipestem Dams

Published Nov. 19, 2019

OMAHA, Neb – Starting today, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will increase the releases from Jamestown and Pipestem Dams by a combined 200 cubic feet per second per day as the cities of Jamestown and LaMoure prepare for the higher flows.  The target combined release rate is 2,200 cfs.  Combined releases are currently planned to be reduced back to 1,400 cfs by Sunday, December 1, but could be held if weather allows.

Daily high temperatures have been near to above freezing for the last several weeks, resulting in river ice breakup and melting from Jamestown to LaMoure, North Dakota. Observed water temperatures have increased, and updated forecasts indicate the James River downstream of Jamestown and Pipestem Dams should not see significant ice formation for the rest of November.  The Corps of Engineers is coordinating closely with the National Weather Service to monitor temperature forecasts. 

The increased releases will allow for the dams to release as much flood storage as possible before ice formation and prior to spring runoff.

To mitigate the risk of freeze-up ice jams or other ice-related flooding, the target combined release rate before ice sets in is 800 cfs.  The Corps of Engineers will operate to minimize the risk of ice-related flooding, and adjustments to the releases will be made as needed.

Jamestown Dam is currently at a pool elevation of 1442.0 ft, 31% into the flood pool, and is steady.  Inflows into the reservoir peaked on October 30 and are steady, currently near 675 cfs.  Reservoir releases are 700 cfs.

Pipestem Dam is currently at a pool elevation of 1467.6 ft, 29% into the flood pool, and dropping.  The pool elevation peaked on October 29 at 1475.0 ft, which was 43% into the flood pool.  Inflows are near 325 cfs, and releases are 700 cfs.

The Corps of Engineers is coordinating with relevant agencies in North and South Dakota.

Release no. 19-133