THURSDAY FLOOD UPDATES: Firefighters rescued by helicopter after airboats capsize

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Below are the latest flooding and weather-related reports throughout the region:

11:14 p.m. – The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood warning for Dodge and Saunders counties effective until 5:11 a.m. Friday.

9:50 p.m. – Four Cedar Bluffs firefighters were out in two airboats near Arlington when one turned and tipped over, then the other turned; both sank. The firefighters were able to get to nearby railroad tracks, where two National Guard helicopters came to their rescue. Council Bluffs Police Department said Council Bluffs firefighters are headed to the area.

Wind gusts in the area were near 50 mph; wind chills in the 20-degree range.

8 p.m. – The Army Corps of Engineers begins to increase the water release at Gavins Point Dam to 90,000 cubic feet per second. The damn, located near Yankton, S.D., has been releasing 50,000 cubic feet per second since noon today. According to the release: "Unregulated inflows from the Niobrara and other watersheds continue to spill into the reservoir."

"Corps officials in Omaha and Kansas City are lending support and resources to state and local communities dealing with rising waters from a powerful regional storm," the release states.

7:39 p.m. –National Weather Service has issued a flash flood warning until 1:30 a.m. Friday for parts of:

  • Northwestern Sarpy County
  • Southwestern Douglas County
  • Northeastern Saunders County

Flooding is expected in Valley, Yutan, Leshara, and Two Rivers State Recreation Area, the NWS alert states, due to large pieces of ice remaining in the lower Platte River; these are likely to produce ice jams as the river continues to rise tonight and cause rapid fluctuations water levels.

6:55 p.m. – National Weather Service has issued a flash flood warning for the Woodcliff area of Sanders County, effective until 12:45 a.m.

6:50 p.m. – OPPD reports a semi-truck hit a pole Thursday afternoon, causing a power outage to about 813 customers between Kelby Road to I-680; and Calhoun Road to North 52nd Street. Power was expected to be fully restored to all affected customers by 2:30 a.m. Friday.

6:17 p.m. – Nebraska Emergency Management Agency confirms there has been one fatality in the floods in Platte County.

5:53 p.m. – Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert said the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge is closed on the Council Bluffs side because the power supply there is under water. Meanwhile, the city of Omaha is making preparations to deal with flooding in low-lying areas near the levee; the city has 10 pumps available if needed.

4:15 p.m. – Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts and other state officials gave an update on flooding around Nebraska:

  • Officials confirmed that at least two people went missing in the floods; one was located, the status of the other person is still unknown.
  • The state has helicopter crews on standby.
  • 3,400 members of the Nebraska National Guard stand ready to respond.
  • A swift-rescue team was sent to Columbus.

3:55 p.m. – Mandatory evacuations in parts of Washington County, north of Blair in the area commonly known as "the bottoms," according to the Sheriff's Office. In areas east of County Road 31, east of CR P31 to CR 10, east of CR P33 south to CR 18, deputies are going door-to-door to inform residents.

3:35 p.m. – Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds has signed an emergency disaster proclamation.

Crews at Cedar Creek are laying sandbags along River Road near Lakes 1 and 2.

3:14 p.m. – Police report the two people rescued near Missouri Valley are in critical condition.

3:09 p.m. – Plattsmouth has declared a water emergency. "The Plattsmouth Water Treatment Plant has been inundated by rising flood waters" and will be shut down, according to a release from the city administrator. Residents are advised to restrict water use immediately and refrain from attempting to store water. Cass County Rural Water District will be providing water on short-term, restricted-use basis.

2:34 p.m. – Several Iowa state parks are closed, or partially closed, due to flooding, according to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Among them: Wilson Island State Recreational Area in Missouri Valley; and George Wyth State Park in Waterloo.

2:30 p.m. – Crews are installing flood gates at Lewis and Clark landing, blocking off the parking lot. [WATCH]

1:35 p.m. –The Nebraska State Patrol reported a major ice jam south of North Bend on the Highway 79 bridge. They advised drivers not to stop on the bridge.

1:25 p.m. – As a result of a reported water surge on the Platte River, Sarpy County is advising residents who live near the water to "be ready to evacuate at a moment's notice." People who remain in the area could be cited, the post states.

1:24 p.m. – The Council Bluffs Police Department announced that Harry Langdon Boulevard closed from Veteran's Memorial Highway to South Avenue due to rushing water pouring over the roadway. [MORE]

1:18 p.m. – The Red Cross is setting up an emergency shelter at the Plattsmouth Community Center. [MAP]

Haworth Park in Bellevue is closed due to flooding. [WATCH]

1:10 p.m. – Haworth Park in Bellevue is closed due to flooding. Watch the video of those floodwaters below.

12:52 p.m. – Plattsmouth Police Department reports that Refuge Road and all of East Main Street are closed due to flooding.

12:15 p.m. – Snow is falling in Omaha.

The Red Cross has closed its evacuation shelter in Avoca, Iowa. As Nishnabotna River waters in the area begin to recede, officials there have determined there is no longer an imminent threat, so the shelter is no longer needed.

11:58 a.m. – Rescue crews pulled two people out of a house who were trapped by floodwaters. Both were taken "Code 3" to a hospital in Missouri Valley.

Landlines are down in Minden, Iowa — located in Pottawattamie County – and the outage is affecting 9-1-1 service. Council Bluffs emergency management said the service provider is repairing a washed out fiber line. Meanwhile, residents are advised to use cell phones or go to the Minden Fire station for assistance.

11:20 a.m. – Highway 6 is closed at Linoma Beach.

North Bend is under a voluntary evacuation for lake developments south of the railroad tracks, according to the town's emergency management official.

11 a.m. – The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood emergency for areas around the Platte River, from Schuyler to Ashland. Emergency Management reported a surge of floodwaters traveling down the Platte River related to a recent ice jam breakup. Floodwaters are expected to quickly rise 4 to 5 feet along the Platte River and will quickly flood locations immediately adjacent to the river.

Residents in that area are advised to seek higher ground immediately, including Interstate 80 between milemarkers 428 and 430. Flooding is expected to occur in the following areas: Fremont, Ashland, Valley, North Bend, Yutan, Inglewood, Morse Bluff, Leshara, Rogers, Two Rivers State Recreation Area, Fremont Lakes State Recreation Area, Camp Eagle and Camp Cedars.

Other areas in a flash flood warning:

  • Northwestern Sarpy County in east central Nebraska
  • Southeastern Colfax County in northeastern Nebraska
  • Southwestern Dodge County in east central Nebraska
  • Western Douglas County in east central Nebraska
  • Northeastern Butler County in east central Nebraska
  • Northeastern Saunders County in east central Nebraska

10:50 a.m. – Highway 15 is closed between Schuyler and Octavia due to ice going over the Platte River bridge.

10:30 a.m. – Authorities say the Platte and Elkhorn rivers are free from ice and ice jams, so no explosives will be necessary but crews will remain on standby.

Colfax County Sheriff's Office advised drivers to avoid crossing county bridges. "County bridges should be considered unsafe to cross with any form of equipment, automobile, or even walking across," the Sheriff's Office posted on its Facebook page. "The excessive flood water can cause the banks of bigger bridges to erode causing a cavity on both sides which can destabilize even the largest bridge."

8:40 a.m. – The Red Cross has opened a shelter at First Lutheran Church in Fremont. Anyone who has been displaced from their home is urged to come to the shelter.

MAP: Red Cross evacuation centers in Nebraska, southweat Iowa

Omaha Steel in Wahoo sent the third shift home overnight and are closed this morning due to flooding. Nearby Rogers remains on alert to evacuate at a moment’s notice.

8:12 a.m. – Shell Creek flooding has prompted the closing of Highway 15 south of Colfax County Road H.

7:15 a.m. – Ashland and Plattsmouth water rescue paged to Horseshoe Lake (by I-80). Platte River out of its banks surrounding houses on north side.

Reports of an evacuation at Emerson Estates in Fremont.

Also, several roads are impacted by flooding this morning due to flooding:

  • Mud Creek is flooding Gilmore Lake Road, between 25th and Spring Creek Drive.
  • Platte River flooding is affecting Buffalo Road, south of Springfield, between 132nd and 150th streets.
  • Creek flooding is impacting at Schneekloth Road, from 25th to 27th streets, on the south edge of Bellevue.
  • Pflug Road from Highway 31 to 23rd Street, south of Nebraska Crossing.
  • In Washington County, Highway 30 is closed between Highway 275 and County Road 23, impacting Arlington.
  • Highway 275 is closed southeast of Hooper.

6:03 a.m. – Platte County Emergency Management reports that there are multiple rescue operations underway for people stranded in their vehicles. The agency was recommending drivers avoid travel on rural roads in Platte County.

5:27 a.m. – Yutan emergency manager reports evacuations taking place in cabins near Highway 92.

Duncan emergency manager reports evacuations beginning in the Lake Oconee area.

West Point emergency manager reports widespread flooding across the county. Three major bridges are under water and therefore impassable:

  • Highway 32 bridge at West Point
  • Wisner County Road 6 bridge
  • Beemer Bridge

4:54 a.m. – With Interstate 29 closed just south of Missouri Valley, residents in that area are under a mandatory evacuation. Highway 30 is closed from Highway 44 in Denison; alternative route along Highway 59 is advised.

3:46 a.m. – NWS declared a flash flood emergency for the Genora area. Officials from the Loup Public Power District reported the Loup River had overtopped an intake structure at the diversion southwest of Genoa, affecting areas north of Highway 22. Law enforcement was enforcing the evacuation plan in that area.

2:05 a.m. – Woodcliff community evacuations underway.

1:44 a.m. – NDOT closes Nebraska side of I-680. Iowa closed its side of the interstate Wednesday night.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.