As Nebraska deals with widespread flooding due to melting snow and rain, several roads and schools around Dodge County are facing closures.
U.S. Highway 275 between West Point and Scribner was closed, as was U.S. Highway 91 from Nickerson to the county line, the Dodge County Sheriff's Office said on social media.
Smith said he’s dealing with a number of county road closures, the most significant of which is County Road F, between Scribner and U.S. Highway 77, which he said is one of the county’s “most primary roads.”
“We’re working with multiple departments on making sure that people are safe,” Smith said.
Many county road locations are covered in water, the Dodge County Sheriff said in a Facebook post, urging drivers to "USE EXTREME CAUTION if you must travel on them."
Cedar Bluffs Fire Chief Rob Benke told the Tribune that the country roads were posing the biggest problems in the area.
"There's so many of them that have water running across them," Benke said. "Nobody should be on a country road right now. Nobody."
In a press release, state officials recommended checking the Nebraska Department of Transportation’s 511 website at www.511.nebraska.gov or dialing 511, which list both of those roadways as closed. They also added that the flooding is “a rapidly changing event” with road conditions changing quickly.
“Please remember, just a few inches of water can impact your vehicle’s ability to navigate, cause it to stall or even float it,” the press release said. “Should you encounter water over a roadway, never drive through it. Turn around -- don’t drown.”
Wahoo Neumann Schools has announced it will be dismissing students at 1:30 p.m. "due to the immediate danger of water running over our highways."
Scribner-Snyder Community Schools have closed as of 10:15 a.m. Wednesday, as the city reported on its Facebook page that flood gates would be going up.
North Bend Central Public Schools also announced that it had closed on Wednesday. Wednesday morning, the North Bend City Council ordered a sand truck and sandbags as a preventative measure for businesses and buildings in the area.
According to Council Member Ken Streff, as of 11:30 a.m., dozens of volunteers, consisting of community members, school staff members and students, had put together about 2,800 sandbags. He emphasized that it was a precaution.
“Nothing is flooding in terms of homes or businesses due to the river or rain situation yet,” Streff said. “We’ve heard, obviously there’s flooding around us in some ditches, and obviously the river is close and the Shell Creek in Schuyler is fairly close.”
North Bend Central Superintendent Dan Endorf said he decided to close schools at 4:30 a.m. because of "significant flooding in and around North Bend" and dense fog.
Endorf praised volunteers and city leadership for their work. By the afternoon, Endorf said as many as 100 people had shown up to volunteer. He said that the district asked that any of its staff that was able to come to the building come out and help with the sandbagging efforts. School cooks provided a meal for all the volunteers and helpers. Custodians have been working since before dawn.
"Last week, our community rallied around our boys basketball team, and today our communities rallying around each other," Endorf said. "There were people coming from every walk of life that came to our boys' basketball tournament. This week, again, those same people are coming out of the woodwork and everybody's pitching in the best they can to get us prepared for the potential of pretty significant flooding."
Volunteers are working indoors at Frontier Cooperative and all are encouraged to join.
Via Facebook, the Dodge County Sheriff urged drivers to be smart about going down roads with water.
“Remember, if water goes over roadways, Turn around!” a post read. “Be sure to also respect individuals that may have roadways shut down. It is for your safety.”
The most recent observed values show Pebble Creek near Scribner approaching major flood stage. At 12:45 Wednesday afternoon the creek was at 22.93 feet according to the National Weather Service, well over its flood stage of 18 feet. The record of 24.48 feet was set on August 5, 1996. There was no flood stage forecast provided by the NWS.
Maple Creek by Nickerson was observed at 13.98 feet at 1:31 Wednesday afternoon, up from 5.68 feet observed just after 7 a.m. Flood stage is 11.5 feet and moderate flood stage is 13 feet. The creek is forecast to crest at 15.1 feet at 1 a.m. Thursday morning.
Logan Creek at Uehling had reached 19.15 feet by 9:15 Wednesday morning and was observed at 18.9 feet at 1:15 p.m. The creek is forecast to reach 20.2 feet by 7 a.m. Thursday morning. Flood stage for the creek is 18 feet.
The Elkhorn River near Winslow was observed at just above flood stage at 17.28 feet at 12:45 Wednesday afternoon. It is forecast to reach 22.2 by 7 a.m. Thursday morning. The record is 20.4 feet and was set on June 5, 2010. At West Point, the Elkhorn River was at 12.64 feet at 1:16 p.m. and is forecast to reach 14.8 feet by 7 a.m. Thursday morning. Flood stage there is 12 feet.
The Platte River at North Bend was observed at 8.16 feet at 12:15 Wednesday afternoon. Downriver at Leshara, the Platte was observed to be at 6.85 feet at 12:15 p.m. and is forecast to reach 10.1 feet by 7 a.m. Thursday morning. Flood stage at both locations is 8 feet.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates as they become available.