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Comparing 2011 and 2019 flooding

Memorable flooding in 2011 and 2019
Posted at 5:41 PM, Mar 29, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-29 18:41:49-04

When you talk about flooding, two years quickly come to mind: 2011 and now 2019.

This year's flooding has been compared to 2011 many times, and although there are some similarities, there are a few differences, too.

"The 2011 flood has its roots in mainly in areas upstream, especially in Montana, where they had record rainfall and record high snow melt, kind of happening along the same time frame," service hydrologist David Pearson at the NWS Valley says.

This time, all of the rain and snow was right here from the beginning.

"We had to react a lot more in 2019 here with the flooding, it was a situation where the water didn't have as far to go. Whereas in 2011, we knew weeks in advance that this water was coming, we had time to prepare," Pearson explains.

Places along the Missouri river south of Omaha set new records because of the extra water feeding into them from our rivers, leading to more severe flooding overall.

"As bad as the Missouri was, it was the combination of the Missouri and the Platte that really caused total disaster for many, many people," Council Bluffs Public Works director Gregory Reeder adds.

And in 2011, flooding was focused more so along just the Missouri river.

River levels on the Missouri stayed up longer in 2011, too, as water releases continued at Gavins Point dam.

"The duration of the '11 was what made it really unique. i mean, to basically be in a disaster mode for 100 days was, it took an extraordinary effort on the parts of hundreds and hundreds of people," Reeder says.

The silver lining of the 2011 flooding though, was bringing flood awareness to the front of people's minds.

"People are just becoming more aware of it. It's just like tornado season, you just have to understand that there is a risk, and be prepared, know what your plan is," Reeder adds.

And while clean up efforts continue in 2019, we will keep monitoring river levels, as we go through the rest of flood season.