Heavy rains and melting snow are causing significant flooding across the Midwest. One man is dead, and the flooding is threatening a Nebraska dam and nuclear power plant. The heavy rains and the melting snowpack are flooding waterways to historic levels.
On Thursday, March 14, 2019, a Nebraska farmer was killed after the tractor he was using to help a stranded motorist was carried away by the flood waters. The Omaha World-Herald reported that the incident occurred at Shell Creek near Columbus in eastern Nebraska.
On Friday, March 15, 2019, a portion of Union Dike in Valley, Nebraska, failed. It triggered a flash flood emergency. Residents in the area were encouraged to evacuate.
Ericson Dam in north-central Nebraska is currently at a high risk of failing. The Cedar River is continuing to rise, threatening the stability of the dam.
Officials in Boone County, downstream from the dam, is also in danger of imminent failure, according to Boone County News.
Both agencies are waring residents in the area to seek higher ground.
A utility company in Nebraska placed sandbags around a nucear power plant threatened by the flooding, on Thursday, as the Missouri River continues to rise, according to the Omaha World-Journal.
Spokesman for the Nebraska Public Power District, Mark Becker, said in an interview with the newspaper that if the river rises to 45.5 feet over the weekend, the Cooper Nuclear Station, which accounts for 35 percent of NPPD’s power, will have to be shut down due to the flooding.
Becker stated that should the plant be shut down, DPPD will be able to obtain power elsewhere, and they do not expect the closure to lead to outages.
On Thursday, DPPD lost a small electrical plant when the Spencer Dam failed at the Niobrara River. The failed dam caused a large ice floe to jam a hold in the building. Workers inside the electrical plant were not injured. Additionally, the dam failure forced an evacuation of dozens of residents along the river as flooding continues to be a threat.
On Thursday morning, the Know County Sheriff’s Office posted a notice on Facebook warning residents that the dam had been “compromised.”
The Nebraska State Patrol tweeted a photograph that showed a bridge on Highway 281 over the Niobrara River south of the dam washed away.
By Jeanette Smith
The Weather Channel: Nebraska Dam at ‘High Risk’ Of Failure, Nuclear Power Plant Threatened by Deadly, Historic Flooding
Image Courtesy of Kansas City District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Flickr Page – Creative Commons License