FREMONT – Hundreds of Fremont and area community members showed up to Tuesday’s Flood Outlook presentation from National Weather Service hydrologist David Pearson.
Pearson was impressed by the large turnout and knew how important it was to connect with the community when it comes to the flood conversation. He discussed the overview from last year’s flooding and broke down the concerns for this winter and spring.
“There’s two things going against us,” Pearson said. “High soil moisture, which leads to a lack of any future rainfall or snowfall soaking in. And the rivers are running high, so there’s a lot of water in the river already.”
The Platte River is roughly at 200% of its normal water level for the time of year, but remains well below flood stage. The current river level is 4.74 feet – flood stage is 8 feet.
Factors currently in favor of the area are the Snowpack, Frozen Ground and River Ice Jams. Both the Elkhorn River and Platte River have some normal ice and minor jams that could be sticking around for awhile.
“We’re hoping that as the air warms up in the next couple of days, that can maybe move some ice,” Pearson said.
It was the combination of all of these factors, plus the bomb cyclone event that dropped large amounts of snow and rainfall, which caused the historic floods last March.
“One factor alone would not have been enough to cause that flood,” Pearson said.
Overall, there is an above-average risk for flooding this spring. It appears that ice will play less of a factor compared to previous years, and the magnitude of flooding will greatly depend on the location and intensity of spring rains.
For more information on the flood outlook, you can visit https://www.weather.gov/oax/SpringFloodOutlook or contact the NWS Office at 402-359-5166.
NWS will provide updates on the 2020 flood outlook in a series of follow-up reports on Feb. 13 in Columbus, Feb. 27 in Norfolk, March 5 in Sidney, Iowa and March 12 in Bellevue. Those reports will be published on the NWS Omaha website.