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Papio-Missouri NRD monitoring Platte River for flood risk

Posted at 7:07 PM, Feb 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-22 20:07:15-05

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — The Platte River is being monitored for flooding. The Papio-Missouri Natural Resources District says the polar vortex did not help with the river conditions.

The ice on the river is currently measuring at about 15 inches, and while that's not the thickest we've seen, the NRD says it's "significant."

"Some years we’ve had 2 foot ice so that’s really a problem. Twelve to fifteen inches, you see that, that’s pretty much the average we see some winters so when we see it get to that type of thickness that’s when we start to say, 'Yeah, it’s a little above normal, maybe we need to start paying a little more attention," said John Winkler, General Manager of the NRD.

If the temperatures continue to slowly increase, the ice will slowly thin and melt.

"If we start getting temperatures up in the 60s and a little bit higher, then if we get significant rain, that could have potential problem," Winkler said.

They are monitoring the situation and have mitigation efforts in place. River ice dusting, fly ash and deploying explosives are some of the efforts they will use if necessary, but they're hoping Mother Nature resolves any threats on its own.

If the river does flood, areas that were dry during the March 2019 flood may not be this time around. Not all the levies have been replaced.

"A little bit of a wild card this year is after the March flood of 2019 a lot of what we call private levies were damaged or destroyed. Those haven’t been fixed. All the public ones have been fixed but not the private ones so there may be some areas that have not flooded in the past that will flood this time. Going forward until those things are fixed, it’s a bit of a wild card. We don’t know how the river will respond and how the area will respond," Winkler said.

While they don't want residents to panic, they do want them to be prepared. Winkler says to have an evacuation plan, make sure your vehicles are fueled and have a bag packed.

The NRD is hopeful we'll be in the clear within the next few weeks.

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