Council Bluffs filling sandbags, monitoring river levels

Omaha, NE – Council Bluffs officials are monitoring Missouri River levels daily and preparing for the river to crest later this month.

Emergency management officials updated the city's flood response at a news conference Friday. Council Bluffs' Public Works Department has monitored the levee every day for the past two weeks.

Art Hill, spokesman for the city's flood relief efforts, says the city and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are meeting daily about the river levels. "Based on their modeling, with average rainfalls and average tributary flow, it might bring the river stage up to 35 or 36 feet. Our levees protect up to 40 to 41 feet."

Hill says the city hopes to have 100,000 sandbags ready in case they're needed to protect pump stations and other public infrastructure. The city needs volunteers to help fill those sandbags. People who can help with the sandbagging effort should report to the Mid America Center at 8am Saturday and Sunday.

Starting Monday, Council Bluffs residents can call 712-328-4672 to get their flood questions answered or report flooding. A voluntary evacuation happened earlier this week in Council Bluffs on the river side of the levee, but no mandatory evacuations are in place.

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad issued a disaster declaration Thursday for Pottawattamie and five other counties. Council Bluffs issued a similar declaration for the city last week.