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State, local officials monitor Missouri River levels

BISMARCK — State, federal and local agencies returned to monitoring mode on Friday as an ice jam on the Missouri River that caused minor flooding Wednesday and Thursday in the Bismarck-Mandan area continues to clear.

The North Dakota National Guard was on standby after Thursday’s successful mission to break up the ice jam by using Black Hawk helicopters to repeatedly drop 660-gallon buckets of water onto the ice. After cresting at 15.43 feet around 5:30 p.m. Thursday, the river level in Bismarck stood at 12.67 feet at 8:15 a.m. Friday – nearly 2 feet below minor flood stage of 14.5 feet.

The National Weather Service and North Dakota Department of Water Resources reported the river ice is moving again on its own and with the current weather forecast additional ice formation is expected to be minimal.

“Most of the ice in the Bismarck-Mandan river area right now is stranded on sand bars or shallow water, otherwise it’s all moving or completely gone,” said Allen Schlag, hydrologist for the National Weather Service office in Bismarck.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said it will continue to monitor the river level and reduce flows from Garrison Dam from a daily average flow of 19,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) Friday to 17,000 cfs today and 16,000 cfs on Sunday.

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