US Army, March 18, 2019 - OMAHA, Nebraska – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District, continues to work with Iowa and Nebraska State and local emergency managers and levee sponsors in response to the enormous volume of water that is currently compromising the majority of the federal levee systems along the Missouri River from the confluence of the Platte River to Rulo, Nebraska.
“This morning we dispatched surveillance team engineers to work with our levee partners, and they confirmed that the majority of the levee system along the Missouri River, south of Omaha, continues to deteriorate and is compromised,” said Col. John Hudson, Omaha District Commander. “The bulk of the levees remain overtopped or breached. We continue to offer technical assistance to our levee partners to help mitigate or counter failures and to keep them apprised of current conditions.”
There are confirmed breaches at L611-614 (south of Council Bluffs, Iowa), L-601 (south of Glenwood, Iowa), L-575 (Fremont County, Iowa), L-550 (Atchison County, Missouri), R-562 (Nemaha County, Nebraska), Western Sarpy (Ashland, Nebraska), Clear Creek (Ashland, Nebraska), Union Levee (Valley, Nebraska). Partial breaches have been confirmed at river miles; L-594 (Fremont County, Iowa), R-573 (Otoe County, Nebraska). Additional breaches are expected as a result of the extremely high flows and overtopping.
Today, the district sent technical teams to Hamburg, Iowa, to assist city officials with installing temporary HESCO barriers to protect the northern part of the city. Also, district representatives teamed with the State of Nebraska in providing technical assistance on a medical drop for Fremont, and a third team provided technical assistance to Cooper Nuclear Plant for sandbagging operations.
In addition to providing technical assistance to levee partners, the Omaha District provided the same partners with flood fighting supplies. To date, the Omaha District has distributed approximately 247,000 sandbags; 2920 super sandbags; more than a mile's worth of HESCO Barriers; one 16” water pump; 18 poly rolls; four 16” hoses; and eight 10” heavy duty T-Bolt Clamps to mitigate flood conditions.
The Omaha District’s focus remains on ensuring the safety of our citizens and communicating the conditions on the river systems to all of our partners and stakeholders. The Omaha District continues to remain engaged with state selected representativess, state and local emergency management agencies, and local and Tribal governments.
“The duration of flood water impacts is still unknown at this time. I want to encourage residents to continue to monitor the situation and keep in close contact with their local and state emergency management organizations to stay updated on any evacuation plans and emergency conditions,” Hudson said.
USAF - OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Nebraska - Like large portions of Nebraska, Offutt personnel are battling flood waters which started to creep onto the installation March 15.
An increase in water levels upstream due to a record-setting snowfall this winter, in addition to a huge drop in air pressure earlier in the week, has overwhelmed the southeastern side of the base with water from the Missouri River and Papio Creek.
“Team Offutt has done an incredible job working together to battle this historic flood as best we can,” said Col. Michael Manion, 55th Wing commander. “We can’t thank our on-base mission partners enough for their support through this as well as officials from the City of Bellevue, the City of LaVista, Sarpy County, the State of Nebraska and the Omaha Public Power District.”
Base officials evacuated the Base Lake early Friday and personnel worked around the clock to fortify facilities with more than 235,000 sandbags and 460 flood barriers to minimize damage as much as possible.
All streets south and east of the Offutt Field House are impassible with water reaching roughly 30 buildings including the headquarters facilities of the 55th Wing, 55th Security Forces Squadron, 97th Intelligence Squadron, 343rd Reconnaissance Squadron as well as the Bennie L. Davis Maintenance facility among others.
“Our team worked as rapidly as possible to improve water defenses around critical infrastructure,” Manion said.
In addition, portions of the flightline are covered with water and multiple aircraft have been evacuated to other locations.
The STRATCOM Gate is also closed at this time due to water crossing the road. In response, the 55th SFS is utilizing the Meyer Gate for cargo and construction traffic and will open the Bellevue Gate fulltime on March 18.
“We’re requesting everyone’s patience as we work through this together,” Manion said. “Our defenders are working hard to keep everyone safe, so please obey all traffic control point personnel.”