The floods of 1993 were of historic magnitude as water in the Missouri and the Mississippi Rivers reached levels that exceeded many of the previous observed maximums. Although large parts of the flood plains of both rivers upstream from St. Louis, Missouri, were inundated, water levels would have been even higher had it not been for the large volume of runoff retained in flood-control reservoirs. Most of the total flood-control storage available upstream from St. Louis is located along the main stem and tributaries of the Missouri River; the largest concentration of reservoirs is located within the Kansas River Basin. The Kansas River Basin accounts for about l0 percent (60,000 square miles) of the drainage area of the Missouri River Basin, and reservoirs control streamflow from 85 percent (50,840 square miles) of the drainage area of the Kansas River Basin. Analyses of flood discharges in the Kansas River indicate that reservoirs reduced flooding along the Kansas and the lower Missouri Rivers. Results of analyses of the 1993 flooding, which include total basin rainfall, peak discharge, and total flood volume on the Kansas River, are compared with analyses of the 1951 flood, which had a similar total volume but a substantially larger peak discharge.
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USGS Numbered Series
Effects of reservoirs on flood discharges in the Kansas and the Missouri River basins, 1993