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Expert Warns Missouri River Could See “Flood of Biblical Proportions”

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Satellite images of the impact of the 1993 flood on the Missouri-Mississippi River confluence. (earthobservatory.nasa.gov)

Satellite images of the impact of the 1993 flood on the Missouri-Mississippi River confluence. (earthobservatory.nasa.gov)

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ST. LOUIS (KMOX) -  An expert on Missouri River reservoirs is sounding a very loud, very urgent warning about the chance of catastrophic flooding this summer.

Bernard Shanks, an adviser to the Resource Renewal Institute, says the Fort Peck Dam and five others along the Missouri are already full with the Army Corps of Engineers releasing record amounts of water to prepare for snow-melt and heavy rain up-river.

  • Listen to Bernard Shanks Interview

As a guest on KMOX’s Total Information AM Wednesday, Shanks was asked what he fears will happen should the Fort Peck Dam fail and set off a chain-reaction.

“There would be a flood like you’ve never seen,” Shanks told hosts Doug McElvein and Debbie Monterrey.  “It would be literally of biblical proportions.”

He foresees a very real threat of “chest-high” water in St. Louis before summer’s end.

Shanks’ main concern: that the Fort Peck dam, which he maintains is built with a “flawed design”, would be overwhelmed by snow-melt and heavy rains up north and give way, causing reservoirs downstream to collapse in a domino effect.

If that happens?

“It would be the most epic man-made disaster in the United States,” Shanks replied bluntly.

He says most of the dams holding back water along the Missouri River are 50 to 70 years old, and like people they tend to weaken with time.

“I have followed this issue for 40 years, and I have never seen them more at-risk than they are today,” Shanks warned.

Copyright KMOX Radio

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