Flooding is headed Nebraska’s way.
How much, no one knows.
Floodwaters from Colorado should be reaching Julesburg, Colorado soon, spilling over the banks of the South Platte River as it enters western Nebraska.
State Climatologist Al Dutcher at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln says how serious the flooding is here could be determined by the overgrowth in the South Platte due to the last few dry years.
“I do expect flooding,” Dutcher tells Nebraska Radio Network. “The detriment on the flooding on the Platte is really going to be dictated by how much vegetation cover is within that channel and is it going to cause backing up of the water? And, once it backs up, of course, it spreads out across low-lying areas.”
Floodwaters have devastating Colorado, covering 15 counties. Six have died. More than 1,200 residents remain unaccounted for.
No one expects that kind of destruction here. What to expect is difficult to gauge.
Ultimately, the floodwaters could benefit Nebraska.
Dutcher says the floodwaters rolling into western Nebraska will spill over the South Platte River and then head into the Platte River, filling reservoirs along the Platte which have been shrinking during the drought.
The Nebraska Emergency Management Agency is sending a special team as well as its Mobile Operations Center to Ogallala to work with local emergency managers along the South Platte.
The Nebraska Emergency Management Agency has released some flooding safety tips:
· Keep informed. Listen to the television or radio or search the Internet for information and instructions.
· Secure your home. If you have time, bring in outdoor furniture. Move essential items to an upper floor.
· If instructed to do so, turn off utilities at the main switches or valves.
· Disconnect electrical appliances. Do not touch electrical equipment if you are standing in water.
· Do not walk through moving water. Six inches of moving water can make you fall. If you have to walk in water, walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
· Do not drive into flooded areas. If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground if you can do so safely. You and the vehicle can be swept away quickly.
· Health officials urge you to avoid flood waters, even if they look safe. Water can contain sewage, debris, bacteria and other items.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:40]