Adams County suffers severe flood damage to roads

Branches block water flood on the Little Blue River in Ayr causing streets to flood. (KSNB)
Branches block water flood on the Little Blue River in Ayr causing streets to flood. (KSNB)(KSNB)
Published: May. 22, 2020 at 9:08 PM CDT
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UPDATE: Saturday May 23, 2020

In Ayr, the Little Blue River has been out of its banks since fFriday evening. Many roads have become washed out and have fast moving water sitting on top of them Saturday. The Adams County Emergency Manager Ron Pughes said the county even ran out of barricades for the amount of roads that have been impacted.

Around six inches of rain had a major impact in southern Adams County. Campers at the Crystal Lake campgrounds were evacuated early Friday evening. Pughes said they could have been stuck if they didn't get them out before nightfall.

There are no reports of damage to homes in the county. Some fields have a layer of water sitting on freshly planted crops. One farmer said he should be fine if the water leaves soon. The river has been receding through most of the day Saturday.

“It was growing yesterday afternoon about a foot an hour… and it's receding probably not quite that fast but up to a decent level that we should be out of the clear when it comes to flooding along the blue now,” Pughes said.

He said the damage is just as bad as it was in the summer of 2019 flooding. He estimates there will be millions of dollars in damage to the roads that will take months to repair..

“The roads are what took the main hit here in south Adams County,” Pughes said. “They just finished top-layering most of these roads out here and all that is washed away. The sides are very soft and weak. There's a lot of drop holes and erosion off the side bedding of these roads.”

One truck got stuck trying to pass the flood waters near the campgrounds. With all the barricades being used, not all closed roads will be marked. Pughes asked people not to pass roads that have water over them.

Branches collected at a bridge near the campgrounds caused water to flow over Highway 74 leading it to be closed. BNSF was called to clear the branches since the bridge belongs to them.

Pughes said he is mainly concerned for people downstream as the water lowers in Adams County.



Adams County has received substantial rain throughout the southern portion of the County. Unofficially it was reported of nearly 8" north of the Bladen area at the County Line. Holstein reported 6" of Rain.

Holstein Fire Department sandbagged a residential home and a sewer riser. No damage has been reported to structures.

At approximately 4:00 p.m. on Friday, it was suggested to Adams County Nebraska Emergency Management that the Ayr Campground in South Adams County evacuate the campers and close until further notice. With the assistance of the Hastings Rural Fire department, ACNEM evacuated nearly 25 campers, some of which had to be pulled out with heavy equipment.

The Little Blue River crossing at Pony Express and Crystal Lake has gone over its banks around 6:30 p.m. and continues to rise.

Reports from Dawn Miller, Superintendent of Adams County Roads stated the following:

All County Roads from Kearney County West, Webster County to the South to 12th Street to the North to Highway 281 to the East has been damaged with some roads impassable.

There are numerous roads with water crossing the roadways and severe surface damage across many of the roads,

The Adams County Road crews continue to work at placing barricades warning of road closures, however the damaged roads exceed their inventory of barricades. Please use caution on all roads South of 12th Street. Officials advise people look for flags on the shoulders that also indicate damaged areas where water has crossed, causing surface damage and erosion.

Officials said to not Drive around Barricades.

Water is expected to rise through Saturday, with more rain possible, up to an inch or greater according to the NWS in Hastings.

The Little Blue is expected to crest overnight and continue flooding downstream towards Deweese Nebraska to the East. Adams County Emergency Management has not evacuated any residents and no structural damage to personal property has been reported at this time.

Emergency Management reminds citizens that water moves swiftly in ditches, creeks and rivers, and warns to not attempt to go into the water at this time. The ACNEM also advises that people stay out of standing water, and do not attempt to drive through when water is crossing a roadway.