Nebraska Communities Work to Get Flood Help to Those in Need

Three semi-trailers arrived at the Nebraska National Guard warehouse in Lincoln on Saturday morning with more than 72,000 bottles and 3,000 one-gallon jugs of water for distribution.

by Alex Lantz, Lincoln Journal Star, Neb. / March 17, 2019

(TNS) — As major flooding inundates much of the eastern part of the state, many communities in the region have begun getting aid to people in need of supplies.

Hy-Vee on Saturday donated more than 100,000 bottles of water to the American Red Cross of Nebraska and Southwest Iowa as part of the flood relief effort.

“Hy-Vee is committed to helping our customers, and really anyone in need in our communities that we serve,” said Steve Parker, store director at the 27th and Superior streets store in Lincoln. “When they’re in need, we’re grateful to be able to lend support to these customers in dealing with the flooding.”

Three semi-trailers arrived at the Nebraska National Guard warehouse in Lincoln on Saturday morning with more than 72,000 bottles and 3,000 one-gallon jugs of water for distribution. A fourth semi delivered more than 36,000 bottles of water to Verdigre earlier in the day.

Rick Dahlman, deputy adjutant general for the Nebraska National Guard, said it has received requests for water and other necessities from more than 50 counties in Nebraska that have made emergency declarations. The Red Cross reported Saturday afternoon that there were 879 people in shelters across the region.

“Our role here for the National Guard, anyway, is just to be a staging area, and Hy-Vee’s done a wonderful job with bringing in water,” he said. “As the communities call in, then we’ll kind of organize that, collect it and get it sent to them in the most expertly manner we can.”

Dahlman commended the efforts of not only county emergency management directors from across the state, but the people affected as well.

“Nebraskans have really come together throughout the last several days,” he said. “They’ve done a phenomenal job offering assistance, offering help and also just being smart about staying where they are, or if they’re in danger, getting to shelter ahead of time.”

Gov. Pete Ricketts and Sen. Ben Sasse spent Saturday touring areas hard-hit by flooding. Saturday morning, they visited a shelter in Fremont, where mandatory evacuations were underway in some areas of the city after a levee breach along the Platte River. Saturday afternoon, they toured the Niobrara River area downstream from the failed Spencer Dam.

Other evacuations were underway in the following areas as of Saturday evening:

* Anselmo.

* Beemer.

* Belgrade.

* Broken Bow — Senior Center.

* Big Sandy.

* Northern Butler County.

* Cedar Creek — along river.

* Cedar Rapids.

* Dannebrog.

* Eastern Washington County.

* Eastern Richardson County.

* Genoa.

* Inglewood — DHHS Call Center.

* Lake Allure.

* Linoma Beach.

* Lynch.

* Pender — Senior Living.

* Rulo — near River and LC Estates.

* North Bend.

* Plattsmouth — Beach Road.

* Plattsmouth — Moorehead Island.

* Plattsmouth — OMA Fish and Wildlife.

* Pleasanton.

* Sandy Pointe Lake.

* Scribner.

* Thomas Lakes.

* Wann.

* Wisner.

* Waterloo (voluntary).

Along the Missouri River, the Army Corps of Engineers said levees on the Iowa side of the river east of Nebraska City and south of Plattsmouth have failed, which caused floodwaters to quickly spread over areas east of the river.

The Missouri was at its all-time high at Plattsmouth on Saturday morning, measuring 40.5 feet, more than 14 feet above flood stage. The previous record crest was 36.7 feet in 2011.

At Nebraska City, the river reached an all-time high of 29.9 feet, nearly 12 feet above flood stage, and forecasters are expecting the river at Brownville to crest Sunday morning at 48 feet, 14 feet above flood stage.

The Nebraska Public Power District continued to produce power at Cooper Nuclear Station near Brownville on Saturday night. As of 9 p.m., the plant was operating at 100 percent but remained in a "Notice of Unusual Event," which it has been in since Friday morning, when the Missouri reached 42.5 feet at the plant. NPPD said in a news release that water levels have had no impact on operations. However, the National Weather Service is forecasting major flooding near Brownville through noon Wednesday.

Two breaches were detected in a Missouri River levee north of Peru, prompting a flash flood warning for northeastern Nemaha County. The weather service warned Saturday evening that water would rise rapidly in the area.

Further west, officials said flooding from the Big Blue River is backing up into storm drains and flooding the streets of DeWitt. The Big Blue River had also caused some flooding in Crete and Beatrice.

In Lincoln, other relief efforts included a “Stuff the Bus” event, held by the SkyView Learning Academy, at the Super Saver at 56th Street and Nebraska 2 on Saturday. The organization, located in Douglas, requested non-clothing items such as shampoo, bottled water, pet food, baby items and toilet paper.

“I know a lot of places are donating to the Red Cross, and that’s great, but we wanted more of a hands-on, something local that we could do,” SkyView director Michele Ray said.

Ray said she and her husband wanted to help after getting in contact with the emergency management director for Area 24, which comprises Boyd, Brown, Cherry, Keya Paha and Rock counties in northern Nebraska. The director told them that many of the people displaced were elderly.

“That’s where a lot of the dams are out everywhere; the bridges are out everywhere,” Ray said.

The Rays have three flatbed trailers and a couple of enclosed trailers that they will use to deliver the supplies to northern Nebraska. Ray said she's talking with local trucking companies to see if they can help.

“We don’t know yet if we can get through all the way to where we want to go, so we may end up going all the way around to South Dakota,” she said. “But we've got to get up there, because I think there’s a lot more resources on the eastern side, but way up north, they just don’t have it.”

Volunteer Ayden Rousseau, a student at SkyView, said he helped at another drop-off at SkyView’s BetterWays Thrift on Friday.

“It gave me a feeling of gratitude, like I was helping with something,” he said.

Officials warned people to be caution of fraudulent donation sites that are beginning to appear on social media.

Monetary donations can be made to the Red Cross disaster relief fund at or call 1-800-733-2767. People can also text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

People wishing to donate to the Salvation Army relief efforts can do so online at


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