Missouri River Water Management News

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Omaha Corps of Engineers working shoulder to shoulder with state, local, tribal agencies in flood fight

Published March 16, 2019

OMAHA, Neb. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District, continues to work with Iowa and Nebraska State and local emergency managers and levee sponsors in response to the enormous volume of water that is currently compromising the majority of the levee systems along the Missouri River from the confluence of the Platte River to Rulo, Nebraska.

There is extensive overflowing of the levees systems from the Missouri River mile (RM) 601 (just north of the confluence of the Platte River) to RM 498 near Rulo, Nebraska.   Numerous levee breaches have already occurred on the Missouri River to include; RM 597 (north of Plattsmouth, Nebraska); RM 543 (west of Hamburg, Iowa); RM 538 (three miles upstream of Brownville) and RM 553 as well as Union Dike near Valley, Nebraska .  Additional breaches are expected over the next 24 hours as a result of the extremely high flows.  Peak flows are not expected to be seen for another 24 to 48 hours in the Omaha area.  

USACE dams along Papillion Creek in Omaha, and Salt Creek in Lincoln are also being inspected and are currently operating well reducing the impact on the Platte River.

“The devastating overflow of the levees that we are experiencing on the Missouri River and many of its larger tributaries is the result of the widespread rain and snowmelt earlier this week.  The weather event resulted in record runoff from unregulated tributaries below Ft. Randall Dam and into the Missouri River system.   I encourage residents to continue to monitor the very serious situation and keep in close contact with their local and state emergency management organizations to stay updated on any evacuation plans and emergency conditions,” urged Col. John Hudson, USACE-Omaha District Commander.

USACE terminated all releases from Fort Randall Dam ahead of the storm reduce the impact of unregulated runoff into Gavin’s Point Dam and downstream. That action enabled the Army Corps to capture a small component of the peak unregulated runoff in the Gavins Point Reservoir. 

Although these efforts have limited impact on the overall magnitude of this unregulated flooding event downstream of Gavins Point Dam, they reduced some of the peak flows that would have occurred in the absence of the dam.

Releases from Gavins Point Dam were reduced to 73,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) Saturday morning, and are planned to be gradually reduced over the coming days reaching 20,000 cfs by Tuesday, March 19.

USACE continues to coordinate with its many stakeholders to include the Nebraska, Iowa and South Dakota Emergency Management Agencies, as well as local emergency management officials through the affected states. 

Additionally, the Corps has open lines of communication with local and tribal governments in their flood fight efforts. 

To date, the Omaha District has distributed approximately 135,000 sandbags, 1920 super sandbags, 2700 feet of HESCO Barriers, one 16” water pump, 18 poly rolls, four 16” hoses and eight 10” heavy duty T-Bolt Clamps to mitigate flood conditions.

The Corps' lower river forecast, which is updated each morning, is available on its website at: http://www.nwd-mr.usace.army.mil/rcc/reports/pdfs/GRFT.pdf

Additional information will is also available on the Missouri River Basin briefing at: http://www.nwd-mr.usace.army.mil/rcc/reports/pdfs/weeklyupdate.pdf

Omaha Public Affiars Office

Release no. UNRELEASED