Nebraska: Record Missouri River Surge – Inches Toward Nuclear Plant Shutdown Level

River inches toward nuke plant shutdown level (Journal Star, June 20, 2011):

The Missouri River rose to record height Sunday at Brownville, prompting Cooper Nuclear Station three miles south of the community to declare a low-level emergency at 2:06 a.m.

NPPD said it would take the plant offline if the water level reached 902 feet above sea level. At 6 p.m., the level was 901.73 feet.

Water levels at the Brownville gauge increased approximately two feet in a 24-hour period from 5:30 a.m. Saturday to 5:30 a.m. Sunday.

Record River Surge Recorded In Southeast Nebraska (WOWT, Jun 20, 2011):

The Missouri River surged to a new record at Brownville in southeast Nebraska Sunday afternoon as workers have been adding sandbags to the levee.

The National Weather Service said the river measured at 44.75 feet surpassing a record of 44.3 feet set in 1993. Flood stage is 33 feet.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said the river level at Brownville surged two feet from Saturday morning to Sunday morning. Col. Bob Ruch attributed that to heavy rain on the Nishnabotna River, which flows into the Missouri,
and to some erosion along a levee upstream at Hamburg, Iowa, that created a water pulse.

The Nebraska Emergency Management Agency says water was flowing over a levee there and into farmland, but the levee is being built up.

Nemaha County emergency manager Renee Critser said when workers built up one section of the levee to alleviate the overtopping, water would flow over in another spot.

Downstream in northwest Missouri, several levees were failing to hold back the surge of water being released from upstream dams. A hole in the side of a Holt County levee continued to grow Sunday, deluging the recreational area of Big Lake.

Authorities said water began pouring over levees Saturday night in Holt and Atchison counties, flooding farmland and numerous homes and cabins. Residents with swamps for back yards said worrying is worthless. “It’s just kind of part of living near the Missouri River,” said one.

Homeowners and farmers are beginning to count their losses. “The best crop we’ve ever seen and the best prices and we’re gonna get a zero paycheck this year.”

Presiding Holt County commissioner Mark Sitherwood said water is seeping underneath levees in numerous spots, too. U.S. 159 is closed south of Big Lake because water is flowing over the road.

Sitherwood said most people evacuated in advance of the
flooding. The Big Lake area has experienced flooding in three of the last five years, but Sitherwood said this year promises to be much worse.

The overtopping follows weeks of high flows and increasing releases from the main stem dams in Montana and the Dakotas.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said the release of water from Gavins Point Dam in Yankton is now up to 150,000-cubic-feet-per-second, the maximum anticipated.

Highway 2 in Fremont County, Iowa is now closed between I-29 and Nebraska City. It’s expected to be a long-term closure. An alternate route is posted on the department’s Web site. The exit and entrance ramps at Thurman, Iowa are also closed.

Interstate 29 continues to be closed from Nebraska City to Rock Port, Missouri and from north of Council Bluffs to the Loveland exit. The I-29/I-680 interchange was reopened Friday.

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