Missour River flood waters shooting out of Oahe Dam at Pierre, SD.

Back in 1998 Futurist Thomas Frey wrote a paper called “The Fort Peck Incident” which outlined the devastating effects that bursting the massive hydroelectric dam located near Fort Peck would have. His scenario at the time revolved around a terrorist plot performing the deed, but the basic concept of the dam bursting is more relevant today than ever.  However, this time it’s not from a foreign terrorist organization but from Mother Nature herself…

This year the Montana Mountains were and still are loaded with the record snowfalls last winter and it is Melting. Last week alone numerous Montana towns had rivers jump their banks and flood the adjacent areas, washing out bridges and stranding residents in remote locations. Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer estimated the flooding has caused more than $8.6 million in damage across the state since the end of May.


Residents of Bismarck, North Dakota have also been feeling the effects of the early thaw rising tide flood waters. Sandbagging has been in place for a couple of weeks at this point, but there is no end in site because the melt has JUST begun and the flood waters are a very recurring danger.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers performed a planned release of 85,000 cubic feet a second from the Missouri River Oahe Dam located near Pierre, SD through June 2, 2011 but then stepped up the rate to 150,000 and plans to continue this rate until at least mid-June.  This is an amount greater than previously anticipated.

Flood waters shooting out of Oahe Dam at Pierre, SD at 150,000 cfs.

Now that some of the pressure has been released from the dams people downstream have had to deal with cleaning up from the devastation of the floodwaters they have already had, but there is much more mountain snowpack to melt. Where will all the water go and how fast will it get there? Can these dams hold up to record high levels and just where will all this water finally end up?

The Fort Peck Incident paper that Thomas Frey wrote outlines the trickle down devastation that would undeniably occur if any one of these dams were to be unable to contain the massive amount of water they retain. The flooding waters would sweep from dam to dam, city to city, refacing whatever areas it made its presence known in.

Some residents of Montana and North Dakota that live in the areas affected aren’t taking any chances. They are actively making the preparations necessary to relocate in a moment’s notice, so as not to be swept away as well as sandbagging and anything else that can help their situation.

The original Fort Peck Incident paper