Omaha Public Radio News
Thu June 9, 2011
Omaha, Council Bluffs officials update flood preparedness efforts
By Katie Knapp Schubert
Omaha, NE – Officials anticipate a portion of John J. Pershing Drive in Omaha will be closed within the next 48 hours.
Omaha's Unified Command updated the flood situation during a briefing Thursday morning. Assistant Fire Chief Dan Stolinski is spokesman for Unified Command. He says John J. Pershing Drive will likely close from Dick Collins Road to Ponca Hills Road within the next two days.
Stolinski says portions of the trail system could also close. No parts of the trail system are underwater at this time.
Also Thursday, Unified Command announced the completion of a berm at the water treatment plant to protect it from flooding. The berm was raised to 42 feet, the same height as Omaha's levee.
In Council Bluffs, sandbagging of critical infrastructure is underway as a precautionary measure.
The city's levee is 42 feet, six feet higher than the projected Missouri River crest at Council Bluffs. Spokesman Art Hill says sandbagging is happening along the Mosquito Creek and Indian Creek levees. Council Bluffs Public Works wants to raise those levees to the point where there's three feet minimum of free board---the difference between the water level and the levee.
Hill says sandbagging is also underway at the city's water treatment plant. But he's says there's no immediate risk of the plant flooding, and reports that water quality could be compromised are inaccurate.
The Missouri River is at 30.5 feet as of Thursday morning, a foot and a half above flood stage.