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

Comments (34)
  1. George Pie says:

    “It would be the most epic man-made disaster in the United States,” Shanks replied bluntly. It appears Shanks has little credibilty if he believes flooding is caused by man.

    1. Mark Dixon says:

      Your point is well taken. The large volume of water that is in the reservoirs and river right now is from natural processes and would have produced a very large flood if the flood control infrastructure were not in place. But, if a dam break did indeed occur, the resulting catastrophic flood would indeed be (in part) man-made. To a very real degree as well, urban and agricultural development on the floodplain is likely a function of the perceived safety offered by the flood control infrastructure. Hence, more structures and property may be at risk because of this perceived safety, than would be if the dams were not in place.

    2. Holly says:

      A man made dam breaking and unleashing a land based tsunami certainly would be a man made disaster. I really appreciate the coverage of this story. Have been looking at topographical maps all day and it is super hard to figure out what cities and areas would be whiped off the map here in North Dakota. Williston most certainly, from appearances probably Bismarck also. I wish the core would atleast have the decency to share their dam breach flood prediction maps which they certainly have. Thanks for covering this very important story that is obviously too big to cover.

  2. iowabigbear says:

    George, did Mother Nature build those dams? manage the releases? build the levees?

  3. R Gordon says:

    He was refering to the dams giving way one after another, dams being man made and all…

  4. Jamie Bejune says:

    chemtrailing at work here

  5. Adam Evenson says:

    The Missouri River (and several other natural faults that exist today) is another of those items that is ripe for false flag employment (such as 9-11) to frighten the sheeple into continuing obedience to the emperor. I am so amazed that so few of the sheeple can see and hear the yapping sheep dogs that are herding them. But what are sheeple, after all, except sheeple?

  6. Fred says:

    Well if you spend all your money on killing people in wars and spend none of it protecting your own people by maintaining dams you get what you deserve.

    1. 4thGenerationMissourian says:

      Fred… read the UCR statistics for Missouri for the past 20 to 30 years. Missourians are actually killing or violently assaulting “Missourians” to the rate of 30,000 each year. That is about 791,000 people murdered or violently assaulted in the past 25 years alone. Obviously, much higher ongoing rates of Missourians against Missourians than wars with US involvement.

      If you can’t get a handle on those statistics, read the hospital records for murders and assaults for the State of Missouri, which show close to those same rates.

      It would seem the dams have done a good job. They have done exactly what they have been designed to do. If they hadn’t been there in the firstplace, there would likely have been more flooding long before now, right? Also, no one could have predicted the volume of rain/snow this past winter and spring. So, why don’t Missourians start pulling together to get through this. Be proactive in protecting your property. Help your neighbors who need it. Find solutions.

  7. jASON says:

    hello the snow has been gone for a whille

    1. DF says:

      the snow is just melting in the mountains, the snowmelt water and the excessive rain in the upper basin is just starting to get downstream, thus the current flooding


  8. anadianant says:

    Spot on. This is the axis along which the split is planned.
    Surely you knew that.

  9. WxWatcher says:


    Actually, the snow melt has just begun in the northern Rockies (i.e. Montana) and they had record snowfall up there this winter. Glasgow, MT, which sits just northeast of Fort Peck, exceeded 100″ of snow for the first time in recorded history. Their previous snowfall record was 74″.

  10. Katie Jensen says:

    We need to be asking for information about the power plants along the river. They all store spent fuel pools. If those flood or containment is breached we have a bigger problem. The fort calhoun power plant is surrounded and has already had a fire in one of the cooling generators. There are three back ups…but electricial problems begin when the plant is surrounded by water.

  11. Steph says:

    All I kno is this flood is crazy. I have never been so scared n my life. I hope it all works out to b okay.

  12. William says:

    best to keep your mouth shut and thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt

  13. MontanaMountainMan says:

    I live on the upper Missouri river here in Montana and let me tell you, the snow has just begun to melt in the mountains here. We are having a very wet spring on top of it and the rain on top of the melting snow is what is causing all the flooding here. In the mountains, the soil cannot absorb all the water from snow melt and rain and so it runs downhill into streams and rivers ( I know! Duh, eh? ). Seems like some of the flat landers have no concept of how the weather and how nature works up here on the Continental Divide. It’s still snowing in some places way high up like in Glacier Park and elsewhere. The Missouri should have NEVER been dammed. We lucked out in that the Yellowstone river was never dammed although they wanted to back in the day. It’s a huge river and runs into the Missouri at the North Dakota border. Also, you have to understand that these dams on the Missouri are extremely inadequate for holding back the amounts of water that they are. Most on the upper Missouri here were built in the early 1900’s and even late 1800’s like Hauser Dam, Holter Dam and the lovely Canyon Ferry Dam, which inundated one of the most beautiful and fertile valleys in Montana. They are not structurally sound at all and maintenance is quite spotty. Hauser Dam already failed once, but that was in the early 1900’s or so. Fort Peck was the stupidest human error ( well, one of them! ) ever. That lake is huge and the dam is flawed and it WILL fail. It’s only a matter of time. Once that goes……they all go. Do some research of your own on the Missouri. The Missouri is formed by the confluence of three rivers that are all flooding or about to as well. They are: the Jefferson, the Madison and the Gallatin Rivers. I went out to look at the Missouri down by it’s headwaters the other day in fact. I have lived here my whole life and I have never seen it like it was the other day. And, it’s still rising. There certainly is a potential for disaster. Don’t get too complacent and you might want to study the Missouri river ecosystem and the state of Montana. BTW, excellent comment iowabigbear! I couldn’t agree more. Woof.

    1. Maisyn says:

      To think, I was confeusd a minute ago.

  14. Benny says:

    Hey Fred. First thing I have to say is f*** you! I can’t believe You would say that! Second of all, almost three million people live in the St.Louis metropolitan area. If you didn’t know, that’s a lot of damn people! By the way, I live in St.Louis.

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