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River Flooding To Rapidly Increase

Some rivers may reach record levels.
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Posted at 10:26 PM, Mar 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-12 23:50:02-04

A number of factors will give way to rapidly rising rivers over the next few days, and could push some rivers to record levels. Rain and melting snow will be pushed into creeks and rivers with the frozen ground unable to absorb much of the water. Ice jams could also add to the flooding. As of Tuesday night, most river gauges across eastern Nebraska, western Iowa, and northwest Missouri are showing most rivers below flood levels, shown by green and yellow dots in the graphic. One exception is in NW Missouri, where the Tarkio River near Fairfax is already up to moderate flooding, with major flooding expected by Wednesday morning.

But this map will rapidly change into the middle part of the week as water levels rise! The next map is the forecast according to NOAA's River Forecast Centers through Thursday night. Each dot represents the highest stage of flooding that part of the river will reach through Thursday night.

You can see numerous points reaching minor flooding (orange), moderate flooding (red), and even major flooding (purple) by Thursday night. With flooding in the forecast, you can see Flood Warnings have already been issued for areas along many rivers. If you come across any flooded roads, Turn Around, Don't Drown!!

Now let's take a closer look at a few of the longer rivers through our area, starting with the Missouri River. In each of these graphics, the city or town nearest to the river gauge is listed. For each one, the current river height is given along with the forecast, as of Tuesday night. The general time of the crest is also given, when the river will reach its highest point. The arrow represents which way the river is generally trending, which for now, shows all areas climbing.

The worst of the flooding on the Missouri River is forecast to be along areas farther downstream, with some area seeing major flooding. Farther upstream, the river is not expected to reach flood levels, although Omaha may come very close to seeing minor flooding Friday night.

The Elkhorn River could see at least minor flooding, but the current forecast puts Winslow at a record level of 21.6 feet. While only being considered moderate flooding there, that would surpass the old record of 20.4 feet measured on June 15, 2010.

The Platte River is expected to reach minor to major flooding along its banks. In Louisville, the river could climb to major flooding levels, cresting near 12.2 feet Thursday night. That's just under the record of 12.45 feet set in March of 1960.

The Big Blue River will likely see minor to moderate flooding by the end of the week.

In Iowa, the West Nishnabotna River could see major flooding in some areas. In Hancock, a new record of 24.2 feet is currently forecast. That would surpass the old record of 23.52 feet from July 10. 1993. In Randolph, the forecast of 24.9 feet would surpass the old record of 24.6 feet from 1949.

These forecasts will continue to change depending on exactly how much rain falls and if any ice jams occur, so stay up to date with the latest forecasts. If you live along any creeks or rivers, keep a close eye on water levels and be ready to take action!