Rising Platte River overflows menace neighborhoods near Fremont

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DODGE COUNTY, Neb. (WOWT) -- Floodwaters crossed over the road leading into the Timberwood neighborhood about 11:30 a.m. Thursday, prompting a voluntary evacuation for the small area near Fremont.

Just west of Fremont, in the Timberland neighborhood, the water levels have receded about four feet since Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020, authorities said Thursday. (Tara Campbell / WOWT)

There are about 30 homes in the Timberwood neighborhood, located about 10 miles west of Fremont.

As of 7:15 p.m., a voluntary evacuation was in still place for areas south of Highway 30 at Dodge County Road 13 into the Timberwood area, according to a release from the Dodge County Sheriff's Office.

No shelters were open, but could be reopened if needed, the release states.

A flood warning from the National Weather Service extends from County Road 14, south of Highway 30, to Lake Ventura, the release states.

Following an aerial assessment, Hexagon Helicopters dropped their ice breaking mechanism on specific channels in an attempt to open channels that would alleviate flooding in the area, the release states.

The efforts were "fairly successful," according to the release.

Thursday afternoon a few miles east, the water levels have dropped about four feet from where they were Wednesday. Ice jams have been obstructing parts of the Platte River, particularly around the bridge over Highway 64, causing many to fear areas there that flooded last spring could do so again.

For the past few days, authorities have been keeping an eye on nearby Dodge County Road 19, which has been under threat of flood from the Platte River overflow for the past several days.

Sunday, water started across the road, which was raised in an effort to keep water from nearby highways until the levee can be fixed.

Authorities did stress Thursday that no new lever breaches had occurred, but that they were still monitoring Dodge County Road 19 for changes. The road remains closed south of Military Avenue, the sheriff's office update states, as does nearby Ridgeland Road and the south side of State Lakes SRA.

Worried residents

Leslie Main could hardly believe the scene in front of her late Thursday morning when she tried to return to home.

“At 9 o'clock this morning I went to work, the water was up to our new culvert we just put in — filled it up to the top,” Main said. “And a couple of hours later, here's where we're at, where it's overflowing the road."

“With the jam still in place we're going to be dealing with water runoff and flooding in the low lying areas," said Deputy Brie Frank, with the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputy Frank was one of the first officials on-scene. Within minutes of arriving she was coordinating a voluntary evacuation. At the time about five families were still in their homes.

Crews began hauling and then dropping small boulders along the road’s edge to keep the water at bay.

“Right now, it's flowing over the road and kind of diverting back into the river and that's what we want it to do,” said Deputy Frank. “We don't want it to go back into Timberwood Lake because if the lake fills up then we have other issues."

Main has her fingers crossed, the culvert they built after last year's flood helps stave off the water.

“We’re hoping our new culvert holds which it seems to be doing because it's coming down lower,” said Main. “And we can keep the water flowing along side the development and not into the development.”

But in the end she know's it's out of her control: “We're at Mother Nature’s mercy."