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Rainfall expected to impact locations along Missouri River

Posted at 10:49 PM, Dec 28, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-28 23:49:19-05

VALLEY, Neb. (KMTV) — Heavy rain that's been falling since Friday night has triggered the National Weather Service to issue a flood watch warning for Eastern Nebraska.

According to NWS Hydrologist David Pearson, locations along the Missouri and other surrounding rivers could be impacted, as water levels rise.

Pearson says residents will not see a rise in the rivers immediately, however over the next few days rivers will hit minor flood stage.

"Minor flooding is the worst we're expecting at this point," Pearson said. "We are talking about farm fields, which are still important. The impacts are less than if it were flooding a home or a town."

On December 11, the Missouri river in Eastern Nebraska dipped below flood stage for first time since March.

River levels are expected to rise in the in the near future, according to Pearson.

He adds it doesn't help that the ground is already so wet.

"In a typical year, we wouldn't probably matter too much about this rain, but it's not soaking in," Pearson said. "A lot of the water is standing on the ground and it's just going to accumulate as it moves downstream."

He adds areas south of Omaha, near the tributary of the Missouri River, are the biggest concern.

"That's where you add in water from the Platte River and other rivers," Pearson said. "It just gets to be a lot of water at the point. Some of those areas are still having problems form levee breaks in March and in summer."

According to Pearson, it's pretty rare to see this amount of rain in the middle of winter. This current bout falls in the top 5 greatest 'two-day total' in the winter months over the last 100 years.

He says the last time urban Omaha saw rain like this in December was 2015 with a 'two-day total' of 2.98 inches.

Pearson believes the record 'two-day total' was back in 1984 with 3.1 inches of rain.