One year ago, Missouri River flood waters were rushing through North and South Dakota with downstream states in their sights.
The water has receded, leaving the massive tasks of clean up and analysis of human factors in their wake.
This week Midwest officials met with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in another installment of the series of discussions on flood control along the Missouri.
Governor Jack Dalrymple, R - North Dakota: "It's a matter of having more gauges, better gauges, gauges that transmit information electronically."
Governor Dennis Daugaard, R - South Dakota: "The sooner we know that there is going to be a flood problem, the sooner we can begin to prepare for it and the more we can avoid the extreme of it."
Remaining river sediment has altered sandbar locations and the channel’s path, which is important to map and understand in future flood discussions.
As recovery takes shape, the areas under water for several months of 2011, now are being threatened by the exact opposite problem – drought.
A dry weather pattern has settled into the heart of the Corn Belt. In Iowa, that nation’s top corn-producing state, May rainfall was half its normal level and putting it just out of the top ten driest May’s on record.
It’s also been warmer than usual. In what could bode poorly for the growing season, temperatures in Iowa are on pace to rank in the top 10 warmest months of May on record.
This could be setting a trend for the growing season.
During previous years with record corn crops, May’s temperatures were barely at normal levels. This year’s May is almost 6 degrees above normal. The ten warmest May’s on record were followed by above-normal summer temperatures.
Soil moisture is disappearing in much of the Midwest. UNL’s Drought Monitor shows abnormally dry conditions spreading across the country, while other areas like Texas and Oklahoma, have received some much needed relief from last year’s drought conditions.