Melting ice and rain continues to cause flooding throughout Dodge County, leading to additional road and school closures, power outages as well as several evacuations between Wednesday and Thursday.
Just before 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, the Dodge County Emergency Management Facebook page announced that the Fremont Volunteer Rural Fire Department is ordering a voluntary evacuation order for the Fremont area due to an ice jam break that could see a potential surge of water on the Platte River of four to five feet. The notification did not name any specific neighborhood, though Lottie Mitchell with the city of Fremont said that those in rural areas along the Platte River should seek higher ground.
The National Weather Service had issued a flash flood emergency for residents along the Platte River from Schuyler to Ashland due to the ice jam.
The North Bend Fire Department also ordered a voluntary evacuation order for the city of North Bend, on the south side of the railroad tracks and Highway 30.
North Bend Fire Chief and Emergency Manager Waylon Fischer said that, as of 1:30 p.m., there had been about a two-foot rise in the river.
“It has not crested the bank yet,” he said. “We are monitoring it.”
The city of North Bend has designated the North Bend School as an emergency shelter. In Fremont, the American Red Cross opened a shelter at the First Lutheran Church on 3200 Military Avenue to house evacuated or displaced individuals.
In a press release, the Red Cross noted that anyone displaced from their homes should come to the church, bringing each family members prescriptions and emergency medications; food that meet unusual dietary requirements; identification to show residence is in affected area; extra clothing, pillows, blankets, hygiene supplies and other comfort items; supplies for children and infants, like diapers or formula; and special items for elderly or disabled family members.
If choosing to evacuate, the Dodge County Emergency Management Office recommends that you do the following before leaving: Gather all individuals, Gather all pets, gather only essential items, bring essential medications with you, turn off all appliances and lights and lock your home before leaving.
In addition, the Woodcliff area was evacuated Thursday afternoon for the second time in 24 hours, according to Cedar Bluffs Fire Chief Rob Benke. Woodcliff resident Lauralee Miller told the Tribune that when she left her home, “the water was up to the road.”
The area had been evacuated early Thursday morning at around 1:30 a.m. and taken to the Cedar Bluffs auditorium, but when the waters receded Thursday morning, residents were able to return to their homes.
Also on Wednesday night, the Dodge County Sheriff’s Department reported that just after 11:30 p.m. on Wednesday evening, Emerson Estates evacuated, and on Wednesday, Dodge County Emergency Manager Tom Smith confirmed with the Tribune that Winslow’s fire chief had met with residents and recommended that they consider evacuating.
Meanwhile, Scribner, Snyder and much of the rural area around them have lost power, beginning at around noon, according to Scribner City Administrator Elmer Armstrong. If it stays out for long, the city will set up a relief center and warming station at the electrically generated community center and fire hall, especially because of potential snowfall.
Dick Ray of the Burt County Public Power District said that they’d lost a transmission line, affecting about 500 customers in that part of the county. But crews have had difficulties getting across the Elkhorn River to inspect it. Normally, they are able to cross at Scribner, Ray said.
“We had to go down to Waterloo and cross there,” he said. “Everything east of the Elkhorn looks good, but until we get over there and patrol our line west of the Elkhorn we don’t know how soon we’ll get it back on.”
The Elkhorn River was at Scribner’s flood gates and many of the roads in and out of the city were closed, but Armstrong said that the flood gates were holding up without issue.
Several roads are also closed in the area, according to Nebraska 511, including: U.S. 30 between North Bend and Fremont; U.S. 79 from North Bend to Snyder; U.S. 275 from West Point to Scribner; U.S. 77 from Nickerson to Winslow and from County Road G to U.S. 275; U.S. 91 from Nickerson to Blair; and U.S. 30 from Arlington to Kennard.
To stay up to date on road closures, visit www.511.nebraska.gov or dial 511.
On Wednesday, the county was reporting rough conditions on county roads, with many closings. Dodge County Emergency Manager said yesterday that most roads around Maple Creek and basically anything east of Highway 79 was likely closed or difficult to travel over.
The Dodge County Sheriff’s Office reported on Facebook on Thursday that every county road in Nickerson Township was closed, warning residents to avoid traveling in the area.
“Do not try to drive over water-covered roads, at this point, we are out of barricades,” read the sheriff’s Facebook post. “Resources are spread very thin do not chance it and get stuck we may not be able to get to you!
The Fremont Area United Way has created a 2-1-1 emergency contact line for those affected by flooding. To be connected to local services in Dodge County, call the Fremont Area United Way office at (402) 721-4157.
The United Way also set up a fund for those affected -- call the United Way office or text “FremontUW” to 41444.
Logan View Public Schools, North Bend Central Public Schools, Scribner-Snyder Public Schools and Cedar Bluffs Public Schools were all closed on Thursday as those areas faced poor road conditions due to flooding.
Pebble Creek near Scribner peaked at 30.82 feet at 9:30 Wednesday night according to the National Weather Service. The most recent observed values show it at 18.94 feet at 1:45 p.m. Thursday, still well over its flood stage of 18 feet. The record of 24.48 feet was set on August 5, 1996.
Maple Creek by Nickerson was observed at 16.99 feet at 1:45 p.m. Thursday.
Logan Creek at Uehling reached 20.5 feet at 9:45 p.m. Wednesday and is at 20.09 as of 1:15 p.m. Thursday. The creek is forecast to reach 20.5 feet by 1 a.m. Friday morning. Flood stage for the creek is 18 feet. The record of 20.86 feet was set Feb. 20, 1997.
The Elkhorn River near Winslow was observed at just above flood stage at 17.97 feet at 2:45 Thursday morning. It is forecast to reach 22.5 by 1 a.m. Friday morning. The record is 20.4 feet and was set on June 5, 2010. At West Point, the Elkhorn River reached 17.65 feet at 11 p.m. Wednesday night and dropped to 16.63 feet at 2:01 p.m. Thursday. Flood stage there is 12 feet.
The Platte River at North Bend was observed at 9.31 feet at 8:15 Wednesday evening and is forecast to reach 11.1 feet by 1 a.m. Friday morning. Downriver at Leshara, the Platte was observed to be at just over 7 feet at 3:15 p.m. Wednesday and is forecast to reach 10.2 feet by 7 a.m. Friday night. Flood stage at both locations is 8 feet.
Wahoo Creek near Ithica reached 21.52 feet at 4:30 a.m. Thursday morning, just below moderate flood stage. It is forecast to recede to below flood stage of 19 feet by 7 Friday tonight. The record of 23.22 feet was set on August 2, 1959.
Correction: This story has been updated to include more accurate times of evacuations of Emerson Estates and Woodcliff. Emerson Estates was evacuated around 11:30 p.m. on Wednesday evening, and Woodcliff was evacuated at around 1:30 a.m. on Thursday morning.