Closures, evacuations in place as Missouri River flooding continues

Iowa DOT officials preparing for possible closure or restrictions on I-29, I-680
Posted at 1:50 PM, Jun 24, 2024

OMAHA, Neb (KMTV) — Cities along the Missouri River, including Omaha, have closed or limited access to parks and other public areas due to forecasted flooding.

The Omaha Public Works Department has closed the entire length of the Missouri River Flood Levee to the public. It says this will allow staff to safely carryout flood fighting operations.

This means that sections of the Riverfront Trail North from Crown Point/Ida Street to Pershing Drive, and from the Mormon Bridge to north of NP Dodge Park, the NP Dodge Park Trail and the Riverfront Trail South/Paved Levee Access Road (Hickory Street to Missouri Avenue) are closed until further notice.

In Bellevue, American Heroes Park and the Haworth Park Campground and Public Boat Docks are closed to the public.

In Council Bluffs, Parks and Recreation officials tell KMTV that Tom Hannifan River's Edge Park remains open but access to areas close to water is restricted.

Monday evening update from the City of Omaha:

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is warning boaters to stay off the river due to quickly rising and dangerous water levels and significant debris coming downstream, including large trees.

  • The City of Omaha has closed N.P. Dodge Park including the marina, and Freedom Park.
  • At the Lewis and Clark Landing, the urban beach, Riverfront Plaza, marina and sand volleyball courts are closed.
  • The remainder of the riverfront parks remain open.
  • Pershing Drive, north of Interstate 680 could close as soon as Tuesday.
  • Riverfront Trail north from Crown Point/Ida Street to Pershing Drive, and from the Mormon Bridge to north of N.P. Dodge Park is closed.
  • N.P. Dodge Park Trail and the Riverfront Trail South from Hickory Street to Missouri Avenue are also closed.

Precautions including sandbagging are underway at the city’s two wastewater treatment plants.
The top elevation of the City of Omaha’s 13 mile levee and flood wall that protects portions of the eastern part of the city including Eppley Airfield is well above the projected crest and is being closely monitored.

Disaster declaration approved for five Iowa counties:

President Joe Biden has approved Iowa's disaster declaration -- meaning federal aid will be available to those affected by flooding.

As of right now that funding is only available to people in Clay, Emmet, Lyon, Plymouth and Sioux Counties.

Pottawattamie County is not included – at least not yet. Though federal funding is available for hazard mitigation measures statewide.

If you sustain losses and live in one of those counties – you can apply for assistance by clicking here. (

The Pottawattamie County Board of Supervisors plans to meet Tuesday morning at 10 a.m.

On the agenda is a discussion of disaster recovery response for the county.

Monday update from Papio-Missouri NRD:

Message from Papio NRD General Manager John Winkler regarding potential flooding on the Missouri and Platte Rivers and how we are preparing.
"Predicted Omaha Missouri River gauge level is expected to be 34.8' Wednesday evening into Thursday morning. No precipitation is anticipated in the next 7 to 10 days except for possible rain at the confluence of the Platte and Missouri Rivers Tuesday and Wednesday.

The high stages of Missouri River are the results of 10 to 15 inches of rain over 300 mile area in South Dakota, Iowa and Nebraska and there is additionally 6-8 inches of rain adjacent to the 300 mile area all in the last 72 hours.

Overall result will be moderate to mild flooding all along the Missouri River. US Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District predicts no major impacts if levee systems hold, possibly some ponding issues due to drainage.

The Corps levee teams will coordinate with the Papio NRD about levee site visits. In addition, it is expected that the Papio NRD and City of Omaha will notify the BNSF Railroad that track closure will be required Tuesday so that the new flood wall system can be deployed to prevent the flanking of the levee system via the railroad tracks.

Platte River levels continue to drop and no significant flooding issues have been reported with the Platte or Elkhorn Rivers. With no significant rain in the forecast for the next 7 to 10 days this should assist in getting those rivers down to a more normal level.

As always please be prepared and have situational awareness to the circumstances and environment around you at all times. Have an evacuation plan and route prepared."

Monday evening update from Pottawattamie County, Iowa:

Officials from the Pottawattamie County Emergency Management Agency anticipate flooding in areas of the county by mid-week. In response to impending flooding, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds has issued a Disaster Emergency Proclamation for five counties- including Pottawattamie County.

Currently, the Missouri River level is at 25.8 feet and is expected to crest on Thursday, June 27th around 1:00 a.m. at 35.1 feet. The National Weather Service projects the river will rapidly recede, decreasing to Minor Flood Level by 1:00 a.m., Sunday, June 30th, and back below flood stage on Thursday, July 4th.

Officials are recommending voluntary evacuation of two areas of Pottawattamie County, due to anticipated flooding. Timely and reliable access to these areas for essential emergency services will be significantly delayed and may be completely impassible based on the current forecast.

Evacuation Area 1

• In Northwest Pottawattamie County – Harrison County Line south to the Council Bluffs city limits, and east of the Missouri River to Interstate 29.

Evacuation Area 2

• In Council Bluffs- Emil Lane, Dog Bite Lane, and the east to west spans of Gifford Road between S 19th Street and S 35th Street.

The Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s Office will be canvassing Evacuation Area 1, to provide direct information. Automated alerts are

being distributed to further assist communication efforts. Direct contact has been made established with property owners within Evacuation Area 2.

Precautionary measures and temporary closures:

• Local law enforcement and Fire Depts are surging staff to support evacuation and rescue operations as may be needed.

• Iowa DNR has closed Wilson Island State Park and the river access boat ramps south of Lake Manawa.

• Pottawattamie County Conservation has closed Narrows River Park.

• City of Council Bluffs has closed Tom Hanafan River’s Edge Park. The city is also recommending people stay off the levee trail system.

• City of Council Bluffs has closed River’s Edge Service Road and Gifford Road.

• Several road closures are anticipated.

o Closures announced by Pottawattamie County Secondary Roads found, here.

o Closures announced by City of Council Bluffs Public Works found, here.

• Iowa DOT is pre-positioning assets in anticipation of closures to portions of I-29 and I-680 in the coming days.

• City of Council Bluffs flood and drainage gates are closed, and stormwater pumps are operational.

Unlike floods experienced in 2011 and 2019, officials do not currently project standing water to linger in Pottawattamie County for an extended period. This is a rapidly evolving situation; residents are encouraged to use best judgement and stay safe. Don’t drive through standing water. If you feel it’s necessary to evacuate your home, don’t wait until it’s too late.

Nebraska Gov. Jim Pillen and Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds issue joint statement asking people to stay off of the Missouri River:

“Now is not the time to be on the water. In addition to higher-than-normal flow, there’s also the potential for more debris in the water, which poses a significant risk to anyone on the Missouri. It’s best to wait until levels return to normal to resume regular activities," the joint statement said.