Missouri River Flood Stage Surpassed near Williston

Closeup of high water flooding on neighborhood street.
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WILLISTON, ND- According to a National Weather Service gauge reading near the Highway 85 bridge the Missouri River is at 28.04 feet. Major Flood Stage is 26 feet.

As the Missouri rises, Williams County Emergency Management Director Mike Smith says it can cause a rise in the Little Muddy River, because the rising water restricts the flow of the Little Muddy.

Flood stage for the Little Muddy River is 10 feet, and tonight the N-W-S gauge reading is at 7.8 feet.

But Smith says that gauge is on 60th St NW between County Road 9 and Highway 2., so what we're seeing at the boat launch near 1804 is water that's backing up from the Missouri River into the Little Muddy River.

Smith says, “As the Missouri rises you'll see a rise in the Little Muddy near the 1804 bridge and County Road 9 because the water flow of the Little muddy is being restricted by the rise of the Missouri.”

The Missouri is forecast to crest during the day Friday, but Smith says the river is rising faster than predicted. He says the ice has moved a lot, moving east of the Missouri River bridge and damming up again.

Smith says it's unpredictable, because the ice jam can move, and wherever it stops, then it can start backing up the water again.

Smith says people should be aware that the water is rising, and monitor it on the National Weather Service site. You can go to https://water.weather.gov

The record stage at that gauge is 30.38 feet set in June 2011. The second historic crest was in 1912, which we've now surpassed.