Residents flee the swelling Platte River, worry what they'll come home to

LOUISVILLE, Neb. (WOWT) - Water building from melting snow and rain made its way down the Platte River Thursday, causing those who live downstream to seek higher and drier ground.

Platte River rising in the Woodcliff area near Fremont on Thursday, March 14, 2019.

The surge in water caused other streams to back up, creating a lake effect.

One of those "lakes" formed on the edge of Ashland. One house was surrounded so fast that someone left a car running and water rose before they could leave.

"The water is still rising," Ashland Police Chief Joe Baulder said.

Homeowners downstream on the Platte Lake packed up to leave.

"Preparing for the worst, hoping for the best," one resident said.

The evacuees worked to put away what they could in their homes before they left.

"Trying to keep everything on the second level, so took everything from the bottom level in case it does at least we can save our things," homeowner J.R. Dean said.

The Platte River looked like a muddy ocean Thursday, and just one dike sat between it and about 100 cabins and lake homes.

Insurance agent and property owner Pat Lemmers said about half of the homes have flood coverage.

"But insurance doesn't get you back to where you really need to be and want to be," Lemmers said.

Downstream further, at Louisville, Melanie Friend prepared to leave as flooding approached her home.

"Worrying about if I'm getting everything that's really important, and worrying about what I'm going to come back to," she said.

Many forced to flee in the face of the Platte's growing fury shared the same concern.

Nebraska Luther Outdoor Ministries opened up Camp Holling for those displaced by flooding. Rooms at the retreat are free on a first come basis.