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Nebraskans Should be Prepared for an Increased River Flood Risk this Spring

Each year, Nebraska is faced with many types of dangerous weather. From severe thunderstorms to blizzards, Nebraskans are no stranger to adverse weather. This year will be no different, as the risk of river flooding in Nebraska this spring is higher than normal, due to saturated soil conditions and above average river flows. The saturated soil conditions developed in 2015 and carried over into the winter months of 2016. In addition, projected above-normal river levels on Nebraska’s rivers will contribute to the expected flood risk increase.


Now is the time to prepare for flooding and to consider buying flood insurance, even if you do not live in an area that typically floods. For more information and to help prepare, here are a few flood resources and safety tips:

  • Visit http://www.floodsmart.gov for flood preparedness advice to safeguard your family, home and possessions and for more information about the National Flood Insurance Program.
  • Learn how to recognize, understand and react to flooding at http://dnr.ne.gov/fpm.
  • Monitor local flood conditions at http://water.weather.gov.
  • Study evacuation routes in advance and heed evacuation orders.
  • Turn Around, Don’t Drown – never cross flooded roads, no matter how well you know the area or how shallow you believe the water to be.

Other Key Points

  • During the past 90 days, liquid-equivalent precipitation across the eastern half of Nebraska has been 200-to 300 percent above normal.
  • Along the main stem of the Missouri River, the Corps of Engineers reports that all of the stored 2015 flood waters have been evacuated as of Jan. 28. The 2016 runoff season, which normally starts on or about March 1, was underway in February due to warmer-than-normal temperatures in January and February.  The system has 0.3 million acre-feet (MAF) of the 16.3-MAF flood control storage zone occupied.
  • Snowpack across the North Platte and South Platte River Basins are slightly above normal. At Lake McConaughy the reservoir is above normal, which is typical in a strong El Niño winter like this season.
  • Fortunately, the late winter warming trend has cleared river ice, decreasing the threat of flooding from ice jams for the season.
  • Long-term outlooks favor a higher than usual chance for conditions to be similar to the wettest third of years when compared to the climate record.

This news release was developed in coordination with the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources, National Weather Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Nebraska Emergency Management Agency.