Emergency Officials Monitoring Platte River's Flood Risk

By: Sara Geake Email
By: Sara Geake Email

North Platte is preparing for record flooding even as most snow melt from Wyoming has yet to swell the North Platte River.

Lincoln County emergency manager Jim Nitz says the city is has surpassed record flood stage but the real problems could start with
heavy mountain runoff.

He says snow pack is about 200 % above normal in the Wyoming mountains. Once it melts, he says it's headed this way.

"If they get a very rapid warm-up we got real problems because all of the reservoirs between here and the mountains in Wyoming are already full. They would have no option but to pass that water on through, which could really create problems out here," said Nitz.

He says there is already some water surrounding homes in North Platte, but no evacuations have been ordered and no one plans to leave.

"We've got some sandbagging in the process out around the airport on the east side of town and the east side of the river. They're trying to increase the height of the dike there form two to three feet. That should presently hold the water," said Nitz. "We've advised folks in that area to take precautions to protect their property and to be prepared to evacuate."

Nitz says state and federal officials will meet in North Platte on Monday to discuss future flooding precautions as the situation worsens.

University of Nebraska-Lincoln climatologist Al Dutcher says if the weather over the Rockies stays cool, snow will melt slowly and
lessen the risk of flooding. But, he says, if there are warmer
temperatures over the Rockies or heavy rain in the river basin it
will be hard for reservoirs in Wyoming and Nebraska to hold all the
runoff.

Reservoirs have been releasing water to make room and avoid heavy flooding when the snow starts melting. That's contributing to high water in North Platte.

Flood warnings and advisories have been scattered across the state Friday.

Emergency managers in South-Central Nebraska say they're hoping the rain quits as they continue to monitor the Republican River. Clay and Webster Counties experienced mild low-land flooding Friday.

Nebraska Central and 10/11 News will keep you updated on this developing story.


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