The North Platte River continues to threaten communities and agricultural land as operators of dams along the river make room for this year’s snow runoff. Moderate to major flooding is occurring in and around the village of Lewellen on the west side of Lake McConaughy as well as in and around the city of North Platte, about 60 miles east of Lake McConaughy. The North Platte Telegraph says crews are sandbagging areas of North Platte, and airport workers are strengthening a nearby dike to help stave off the flooding. Garden County Officials met Friday afternoon to discuss the plan for Lewellen, where flood waters are threatening homes and businesses.
The National Weather Service says the river in both areas will remain above flood stage into at least the middle of the week. They also warn that if dams upstream continue to release water, the flooding could become more severe for communities on or near the river.
The Bureau of Reclamation says dams upstream from Lake McConaughy are all full, so they are releasing water to make room for unusually high levels of snow runoff from the Wyoming mountains. Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District, the owners of Lake McConaughy, have responded by agreeing to release water from Nebraska’s largest reservoir to make room for the increased inflows. The lake is already near capacity, with almost three times the amount of inflows this year as it saw at this time last year.