Close Watch on Rising Rivers

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The Omaha Public Power District has an eye on rising river water. OPPD confirms that it’s placing sandbags around key facilities at the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Station.

Spokesperson Jeff Hanson says it's a precautionary step.

The plant was shut down for two years, partly because of flooding in 2011.

Under its revised operating rules, if the Missouri River reaches a certain level, the plant will be shut down.

Flood warnings are in effect for northwest Iowa and all along the Missouri River.


Flooding

The Little Sioux River was out of its banks in western Iowa Wednesday morning.

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad is touring parts of state. The Rock River in Rock Rapids is also out of its banks threatening homes and businesses. Sandbagging is in progress.

The governor has issued a disaster emergency proclamation for five counties.

The Elkhorn River at Waterloo was abandoned Wednesday. People would normally be out there for recreational purposes.

The Papio-Missouri River NRD has shut down access to this river and to the Platte.

The mud line along the river shows the water has receded about two feet since Sunday but it's still too high for it to be safe for people wanting to get into the river.

The City of Omaha is also taking precautions. They have shut down access to the marina and campgrounds at N.P. Dodge Park along the Missouri River.

We spoke with one boater earlier Wednesday who told us, "The city of Omaha does a really good job of communicating with us on what they are doing. We have a caretaker that's on site, he is actually up on top to actually maintain and make sure everything is safe and secure as well."

You’ll need to cancel plans involving the river this weekend. The waters are expected to continue rising.

The Papio-Missour NRD says the concern isn't with major flooding, even with the Missouri River in the metro. It's that they want people to stay out of the rivers because the levels are simply too high.

Officials in Pottawattamie County issued the following news release on Wednesday:

Wednesday, June 18, 2014 – Very heavy rainfall the past several days have led to substantial increases in river levels along the Missouri River prompting the National Weather Service to issue a Flood Warning along the Missouri River.

The forecasted crest is currently estimated to arrive Sunday evening at 32.0 feet and fall below flood stage by late Tuesday morning. “These numbers are estimates provided by the National Weather Service based on the current river and precipitation forecast models”, says Doug Reed, Emergency Management Director for Pottawattamie County.

Council Bluffs and Pottawattamie County officials have met over the past two days to receive updates on the river forecast and to begin planning for the potential effects. “These meetings have been very productive and all departments have begun taking proactive steps to ensure the potential flooding has minimal effects on public safety and infrastructure,” commented Justin James, Council Bluffs Fire Chief.

Some of the actions underway include informing residents in flood prone areas along the river to closely monitor water levels and take the proactive steps to protect themselves and their property. Throughout the weekend, city and county officials will be monitoring the road systems that may be affected by high water as well as the levee system around Council Bluffs in order to immediately identify any potential problems. Pottawattamie County Conservation will be closing the Narrows River Park to public access on Friday morning. Officials have a high degree of confidence that actions being taken now are appropriate for this potential event and remind citizens that the forecasted river levels will continue to fluctuate as more detailed data is collected by our U.S. Geological Survey and National Weather Service partners.

Citizens are reminded to never drive vehicles through areas where water covers the road. Citizens with property in flood prone areas should take appropriate steps to protect any vulnerable property and to have a plan to evacuate should waters threaten their residence. Citizens can stay abreast of river conditions by monitoring local media outlets, the National Weather Service website, and by signing up for CodeRED Emergency and Weather Alerts. You may sign up for CodeRED at pottcounty.com.

An information hotline will be available to citizens with questions on Thursday, June 19th and Friday, June 20th from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The information hotline number is 712-242-1104.


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