The National Weather Service is warning of an elevated flood risk in Nebraska and Iowa this year because of the combination of wet soil, rivers and streams running high and this winter’s heavy snow. Area officials are concerned about how well drainage systems such as those in area towns, along with rural drainage ditches, will be able to drain the water to surrounding creeks and rivers. Most say that the snow needs to melt slowly to avoid any flooding concerns.
Earl Imler, with the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency, says huge chunks of ice could cause flooding along several rivers this spring, but it will depend upon how quickly the weather warms up. Imler says it would be ideal if there is a gradual warm-up this spring that would allow the ice to melt slowly and eventually float downstream with less flooding. However, area officials warn that ice jams from speedy melting that would break up ice, would also hamper the flow of water and back it up.
Regardless of a fast melt off or river flooding, Forest City Administrator Barb Smith said that the city has prepared itself.
In Garner, concerns have been raised about the drainage, but according to Garner City Administrator Randy Lansing, the city has taken steps to try and minimize flooding.
Iowa officials say they have prepositioned pumps, sandbags and other flood-fighting equipment throughout the state, so they can be ready to respond quickly to flood concerns.