The Missouri River has reached its highest level at Omaha since the completion of six upstream dams.
Thursday morning, the river hit 30.51 feet. The previous post-dam record had been 30.26 feet on July 10, 1993.
The National Weather Service is forecasting the river to rise above 32 feet by Monday, and then it will keep climbing as the Army Corps of Engineers releases more water from Gavins Point Dam.
The river is forecast to eventually rise to somewhere between 34 and 36 feet, assuming normal rainfall in the next few months, the National Weather Service said.
Before the upstream dams were completed, the river rose even higher. On April 18, 1952, the Missouri hit 40.2 feet at Omaha. At that time, only one of the six dams was completed. The last was finished in 1964.
The Missouri has been above flood stage since May 31, said Dave Pearson, hydrologist with the National Weather Service. It is expected to remain high until at least late summer.
Wednesday's high mark was set as the city hustled to get ready for the first significant rain since the river reached flood stage.
Omaha officials have been meeting with two outside engineering firms that are modeling how rainwater and groundwater can be expected to flow and pool in the city.
One inch or more of rain was possible in the Omaha area through Friday, depending on how weather patterns set up, the weather service said.
Marty Grate, the city's manager of environmental services, said the engineering analysis will tell the city if and where it needs to position pumps to remove rainwater from low-lying areas. It will also help the city give people notice if their property appears to be at risk.
City officials are not projecting widespread problems with water backing up.
However, businesses and homes that have had problems in the past with seepage and pooling already should be taking appropriate action, Grate said.
“People should take responsibility for preparing themselves on an individual level,” he said. “We as a city will try to protect public safety. But people have to think ahead and plan.”
As have other officials, Gov. Dave Heineman became the latest to try to dispel rumors that the College World Series might be moved from downtown Omaha's TD Ameritrade Park because of the rising river.
Heineman said Wednesday he plans to be at the ballpark for the first CWS game June 18.
“I talked with Mayor (Jim) Suttle today, and I am convinced that Omaha has its flood preparations well in hand,” Heineman said. “They have their own resources to do what they need, and Omaha is moving forward in the right direction.”
CWS organizers said they have the needed pumps to clear any pooling rainwater from parking lots. Additionally, the stadium has an underground reservoir that can hold rain that falls on game days.
Suttle said the city's flood fight is being organized in phases because conditions are changing so rapidly.
“Let's keep this in perspective. This is uncharted waters, no pun intended. We have not gone through this before,” the mayor said. “Thank goodness we are well prepared with this levee.”
World-Herald staff writer Kevin Cole contributed to this report.
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Video: Aerial look at Missouri River flooding
Video: Gavins Point Dam continues to release water