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Louisville flooding photograph

LOUISVILLE – Areas around Louisville are in a flood warning until Saturday morning, according to the National Weather Service in Valley, Neb.

The warning was issued for all of Cass County, as well as other area counties in Nebraska and Iowa, at 9:45 a.m. Friday as water has overflowed the Missouri and Platte rivers at historic levels.

A flood warning means that flooding is imminent or occurring, according to the weather service, and that all parties that may be impacted should take the necessary precautions immediately.

Upon issuing the flood warning at 9:45 a.m. Friday, the weather service said in its press release that “residual extensive flooding continues today, as rivers and streams expand to areas unaccustomed to flooding. Travel is still hazardous, and is discouraged. Please do not drive across flooded roadways.”

As of 9 a.m. Friday, Nebraska Highway 50 was open in both lanes around the Louisville area, according to a city spokeswoman. North of the highway, however, still had significant flooding as was the case Thursday when rising waters from the Platte River forced the closure of the Louisville State Recreation Area, creating what seemed to be one big lake out of the numerous smaller lakes there, as Louisville spokeswoman Cheryl Gaston described it.

Also on Friday morning, water was flowing up to homes in a mobile home area next to the state park, according to Gaston. The residents there had evacuated earlier, she said.

At 2:15 a.m. Friday, the Platte River by Louisville reached a height of 11.6 feet, or 2.6 feet above flood stage, according to the weather service.

In its Friday morning flood warning announcement concerning Louisville, the weather service said, “Moderate flooding is occurring and major flooding is forecast. The river will continue rising to near 12.3 feet by this evening (Friday). The river will fall below flood stage Monday afternoon.”

The impact of waters reaching 12.3 feet creates widespread flooding as a wide expanse of the river spreads out horizontally across the flood plain.

Meanwhile, a state parks spokesman said it’s too early to assess any damage costs to the Louisville State Recreation Area from the flooding. One attraction, a floating playground, has been in dry storage since it closed down last summer, said Bob Bergholz. Other items have been moved away from water as possible to minimize any damage, he added.

“We’ve been proactive in protection of our resources,” Bergholz said.

As of 2 p.m., waters had also reached the boundary of a nearby trailer court, which like the park is north of Nebraska Highway 50, according to Gaston.

According to Cass County Commissioner Janet McCartney, residents who live north of the railroad tracks in the Buccaneer Bay housing area were requested to evacuate by the county’s Emergency Management agency on Thursday.

McCartney also said that county roads officials have been monitoring roads and bridges and that all bridges seem to be in normal shape and roads open on Thursday.

The Cass County Sheriff’s Department urges motorists to use caution when traveling through low areas. Melting snow coupled with rain has created flooding in many parts of the county. Just a few inches of water can impact a vehicle’s ability to navigate, cause it to stall, or even float it. Should motorists encounter water over a roadway, they should never drive through it, but turn around, the department said.

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