Three week study to impact flooding at North Platte River

Published: Jul. 7, 2020 at 5:27 PM CDT
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NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (KNOP) - It was in 2002 that the National Weather Service lowered the flood stage in the North Platte River to 5.8 feet, dropping it from 6 feet. It was due to nuisance flooding of properties located a short distance upstream of a Nebraska Highway 83 river crossing. That change was made at the request of property owners.

“Gonna be releasing more water coming out of McConaughy to do a study, about a three week, on the flood stage especially here around North Platte,” said Brandon Myers, the Director of Region 51 Emergency Management.

Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District Hydraulic Projects Operations Manager Cory Steinke confirmed what Myers said. He added in the early 2000′s everyone was irrigating hard, but with smarter technology the demand is not as high. He told News 2 the district will be testing at the choke points before more water is released.

Director of Region 51 Emergency Management Brandon Myers said it will happen over a three week time frame.

“So over the next three weeks they’re gonna raise the water level through the stages. Six foot, 6.5, which is modern flood, hopefully up to 6.75 just below the major flood stage just to kind of see if we can raise the flood stage levels back to what they used to be,” said Myers.

Steinke added that the National Weather Service is required to announce a warning when the water levels reach their designated flood levels. He said when the water reaches 6 foot at the Cody Park bridge it’s their job to monitor that, even though it is not a rain or snow melt event.

“Storm wise it’s a good time frame that we shouldn’t have heavy rain water that will affect our numbers that way we can control the amount of water going down,” said Myers.

Steinke also told us that this happens nearly every July and August as water is released for irrigation, and most land owners along the river are aware. He said it is normal practice in the operations during irrigation season. As for those who want to use a higher river level for recreation Myers said to be mindful of the danger.

“Mind that the river is going to be higher and the flow is going to be faster so avoid it if at all possible. But if you’re just die hard to be on that river be wearing life jackets and things like that making sure your safety comes first,” said Myers.

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