Low flooding reported along James River

Farm Forum

Farmers who planted crops on low-lying land near the James River are worried about having them washed away.

That’s what Scott Meints, Brown County Emergency Management director, said May 28.

Because the river approaching minor flood stage in Brown County, he’s heard from ag producers who were able to plant along the river bottom when it was dry. But recent rains have led two dams in North Dakota to release more water that flows into northern Brown County, Meints said.

The good news is that as things stand now, the flooding shouldn’t impact any towns, county roads or major highways, he said. One township road west of Columbia is about 2 feet underwater, he said. The bad news is that the odds are good for more rain across the region in the next couple of days.

According to National Weather Service numbers, the James River at Columbia was at 12.65 this morning. Minor flood stage is 13 feet.

The river is expected to crest at 14.5 feet around June 10, according to the weather service. That’s also in minor flood stage. Moderate flood stage is 16 feet, with major flood stage at 18 feet.

Near Stratford, the James is expected to eventually reach minor flood stage, according to the weather service. It’s now at 12.32 feet. Minor flood stage is 14 feet. The river is expected to crest at about 16.5 feet near Stratford around June 18. Moderate flood stage is 17 feet; major is 19 feet.

Those estimated crests could go higher if there’s more rain in the James River basin.

According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, releases from James River dams in North Dakota were increased late last week. Releases at the Jamestown Reservoir are 1,000 cubic feet per second. Releases at the Pipestem Reservoir are 200 cubic feet per second.

“Flood stage at both reservoirs continues to fill and inflows are expected to be elevated for the next couple of weeks,” according to a release from the corps. “Adequate flood storage remains available at the reservoirs.”