Nebraska, Iowa on Watch for Flooding

June 30, 2010

Des Moines, Iowa, officials are monitoring levees holding back the Des Moines River as more water pours in from Saylorville Lake just north of the city. In Nebraska, lowland flooding is expected around Omaha in the coming days.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has raised a 6-foot inflatable barrier atop an emergency spillway at Iowa’s Saylorville Lake. Corps spokesman Ron Fournier says computer models show the lake reaching the top of those barriers today. If that happens, it will be the fifth time since the lake was constructed in 1977 that water has gone over the spillway.

Des Moines is shoring up the levees protecting neighborhoods north of downtown, including Birdland, which flooded in 2008.

Some residents, however, aren’t taking any chances and are moving out of their homes to higher ground.

The National Weather Service is predicting that the Missouri River will reach a height of 28.9 feet near Omaha this week and the Corps says campers and anyone else planning outdoor activities for July 4th should expect lowland flooding

The Corps’ Omaha District Commander Robert Ruch says at that level, the river will flood lowland parks and campgrounds.

Upstream dams on the Missouri River are nearly full, so the Corps is releasing 34,000 cubic feet of water per second from Gavins Point Dam.

In addition to concerns along the Missouri, other rivers, streams and lakes throughout the region will also remain swollen from June’s heavy rains.

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