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Omaha District assesses damage as water recedes

Published March 27, 2019

In today’s daily update of current flood fight efforts, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District, is continuing efforts to perform damage assessments as water recedes and access to the levee system becomes available. Omaha District is also conducting underwater surveys of scour holes along the Missouri and Platte Rivers as well as collecting aerial imagery which will support the recovery effort.

There are more than 350 miles of levees on the Missouri, Platte, and Elkhorn Rivers and tributaries that have experienced significant flood damage. Due to the magnitude of damage along these levees, repair of the levee system efforts will take an extended period of time to execute. 

The majority of the levee system south of Omaha remains compromised and vulnerable due to record inflows surpassing their designed protection levels. There were 54 confirmed full/partial breaches and overtopppings. Thy were at; L611-614 (south of Council Bluffs, Iowa); L-601 (south of Glenwood, Iowa); L-594 (near Fremont County, Iowa); L-575 (Fremont County, Iowa); L-550 (Atchison County, Missouri); L-536 (Atchinson County, Missouri); R-613 (Sarpy County, Nebraska); R-562 (Nemaha County, Nebraska); Clear Creek (Ashland, Nebraska); Union Levee (Valley, Nebraska); and R-573 (Otoe County, Nebraska). There is only one levee that remains overtopped, L-550.

The Omaha District is currently providing technical assistance in multiple locations. 

In Sioux Fall and Dell Rapids, South Dakota, a team is providing assistance for high flow and snow melt along the Big Sioux and Little Sioux Rivers. In Ashland, Nebraska, a team is assisting with breach closures on the Clear Creek levee.  Technical assistance is being given to Hamburg, Iowa for the Ditch six levee.  There are also teams providing both direct and technical assistance to Watertown, South Dakota and Pacific Junction, Iowa. Additionally, there are teams offering technical assistance to Council Bluff, Iowa, Saunders County, Nebraska, and Dodge County, Nebraska.

A risk of significant flooding continues due to the high plains snowpack in North and South Dakota, especially across eastern South Dakota and the unregulated James and Big Sioux River basins. I cannot emphasize enough that residents should continue to monitor the situation and keep in close contact with their local and state emergency management organizations to stay updated on any evacuation plans and emergency conditions. Levee breaches can happen quickly or gradually and can occur when water overtops a levee and washes out a portion of the levee and can occur at lower water elevations as well.

Warm temperatures are expected today (Wednesday), followed by a cool down for the weekend. The midweek warm temperatures will accelerate snowmelt across the Dakotas and increase flows in area streams and rivers, which are already flowing high with numerous river gages above flood stage.  A storm system is projected to move across the Rocky Mountains and central plains Thursday through Saturday. Some of the precipitation is forecasted to fall as snow across the western basin with the majority of the precipitation across the eastern basin falling as rainfall. The current forecasted track of this system projects the heaviest precipitation to fall south of the snowpack areas. The lower basin maybe snow free, however high soil moisture across this area would suggest above average runoff from any precipitation. We will continue to monitor closely.

Omaha District’s focus remains on ensuring the safety of citizens and communicating the conditions on the river systems to all of our partners and stakeholders. The Corps continues to provide flood fight assistance to state, local, and tribal government agencies.

The Omaha District has distributed approximately 228,000 sandbags, 2,020 super sandbags, 16,500 feet of HESCO barriers, six pumps and 21 poly rolls.

The first source of information for citizens is their local emergency managers. For questions or concerns you can call 211, which is a national resource hotline and website geared to local area needs.

Omaha Public Affairs

Release no. UNRELEASED