Nebraska residents along the South Platte River are being told to keep an eye on the river because of the heavy pulse of water flushing downstream from Colorado flooding.
The river is expected to begin rising in Nebraska this weekend and into next week, said Cory Martin, meteorologist for the National Weather Service office in North Platte.
Martin said there should be enough room in the system to absorb the water without flooding, so no official flood advisory or warning had been issued.
“We'll have to see how the river responds upstream in Colorado,” he said.
The Nebraska Emergency Management Agency on Friday issued a statement urging people in western Nebraska to prepare for potential flooding that could come as soon as Tuesday.
“It's very possible, with the amount of rain Colorado has experienced, and the predictions for continued rain along the South Platte River, that Nebraska could experience flooding next week,” said Earl Imler, the state's response and recover section manager. “We want everyone to be prepared.”
For now, the weather service is projecting that the river won't rise too much above three-quarters bank-full, Martin said.
However, the unknown is whether the vegetation in the river bed will clog up the river and send water out of the bank.
Martin said the drought and nearly nonexistent flows in the river should drain the floodwaters of some of their ferocity.
Additionally, the terrain is relatively flat, so there should be room for the river to spread out as it flows east.
Local emergency managers in the Platte River valley were contacting residents so that they could move livestock or equipment away from the river if they choose to.
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