Though the floodwaters may have crested in Big Springs, Brule and Ogallala in western Nebraska, the National Weather Service predicts high river levels will remain for several days. The debris in the water may contribute to additional flooding.
The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) are urging outdoor recreationists to stay away from standing or moving floodwater in western and central Nebraska.
On Wednesday, a canoe capsized in debris about a mile east of the Colorado state line, and Game and Parks officers rescued one man from the South Platte River west of Big Springs. Response to the rescue included Big Springs, Ogallala and Keystone/Lemoyne volunteer fire departments, as well as the Lake McConaughy Dive Rescue team.
“Anyone who enters swiftly flowing water risks drowning, regardless of his or her ability to swim,” said Earl Imler, response and recovery manager at NEMA. “Do not drive through flooded areas or around road barriers, or traffic barricades, as a road or bridge may be washed out.”
As the water from Colorado flows into Nebraska, more than a dozen American Red Cross disaster action workers from North Platte, Kearney, Grand Island, Lincoln and Omaha continue to prepare for potential flooding in communities along the South Platte River.
On Wednesday afternoon, Red Cross workers delivered food and water to people who were filling sandbags in Hershey, and delivered water to Big Springs. Communities in the path of the rising river are mobilizing with the Red Cross. Red Cross workers have met with Southern Baptist and UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief) and are working closely with the Salvation Army Partners. In addition, the Red Cross is positioned to open shelters in nine communities along the South Platte River, should homeowners be forced out of their homes. Shelters will provide displaced residents with a safe place to stay, a place to sleep, a hot meal, minor first aid, referrals and a shoulder to lean on.