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Close to 7 inches of rain reported in parts of Omaha; metro area in flood warning

Close to 7 inches of rain reported in parts of Omaha; metro area in flood warning

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Nearly seven inches of rain fell in areas of southwest Omaha Friday night into early Saturday, and more could be on the way. 

Heavier rain was focused toward the south and southwest of the Omaha metro area, said Dave Fobert, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

The Millard Airport near 132nd and Q Streets recorded 6.83 inches of rain over the last 24 hours, according to the National Weather Service. Offutt Air Force Base saw 3.95 inches. Eppley Airfield recorded 1.88 inches of rain overnight, while Lincoln saw 1.69 inches and the Blair Airport saw 1.77 inches.

Fobert said today should be partly to mostly sunny with a high of 92 degrees, but the chance for storms will increase after midnight, with about a 40 percent chance of additional storms into Sunday morning.

"We kinda stay in a wet pattern into Monday morning," Fobert said. A 60 percent chance for storms was forecast for Sunday night, but additional rain fall amounts are expected to be less than an inch.

A 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms is forecast for Monday, with a high near 79 degrees.

Meanwhile, the Omaha metro area remains in a flood warning as the Missouri River continues to rise.

The National Weather Service reported before 9 a.m. Saturday the Missouri River had reached 27.2 feet at Omaha. The Weather Service forecast the river would rise to flood stage, 29 feet, around 9 a.m. Sunday.

Significant lowland flooding is expected in NP Dodge Park, Freedom Park, Playland Park in Council Bluffs, and Fontenelle Forest and Haworth Park in Bellevue.

As of 4:15 p.m., the Omaha Public Power District reported that 1,226 customers remained without power, mainly in Douglas (696) and Sarpy (511) counties, down from over 10,000 overnight.

STREET FLOODS LEAVE SOME STRANDED, RAISE FLOODING CONCERNS:

Streets flooded throughout the Omaha area Friday night, causing cars to become stranded and roads to close — and raising worries about flash flooding from area creeks.

To make matters worse, just after midnight a storm capable of 70-mph winds was hitting the area. With the soil water-logged, the wind raised the potential for significant toppling of trees and more power outages.

The Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District had deployed its staff Friday night to monitor the Papillion Creek system, said Marlin Petermann, assistant general manager.

“They have come up very quickly and can keep rising; we don’t know the limits,” he said. By midnight, most creeks in the southern metro area and Sarpy County had risen about 10 feet to 15 feet but still had room to spare.

Two creeks were near flood stage just after midnight: the South Papillion Creek near south 144th Street and Chandler Road; and the Big Papillion Creek near 69th and Q Streets.

Papillion Creek near Capehart Road and the Kennedy Freeway had minor flooding.

The problem, Petermann said, would be if more rain fell. Because metro-area creeks are flash-flooding creeks by their nature, any problems would develop quickly and without significant warning, he said.

Rainfall Friday night was torrential, overwhelming the city’s sewer system. In many areas, manhole covers shot up and left holes in the streets.

A trained weather spotter reported up to 5.1 inches of rain in less than three hours just west of La Vista. More than 3 inches fell in Bellevue, including 1.14 inches in a half-hour.

Police were so busy with the street flooding that they stopped answering calls for fender-benders and noninjury accidents.

Among the roads temporarily closed was Interstate 80 eastbound at the John F. Kennedy split.

Significant pooling of water in the area of 84th Street to 96th Street and Harrison to L Streets caused problems.

A number of motorists got stuck, and some drove around officers who were trying to keep them off flooded streets.

Around midnight, water had started to recede near 96th and L Streets, said Kelsey Gibb, manager at the 21st Saloon at 4727 S. 96th St.

DELAYS AND CANCELLATIONS:

           » Friday's College World Series game between Virginia and Ole Miss will resume at 2 p.m. Saturday. Virginia is batting in the second inning of a scoreless tie with two runners on base.       

           » The Papio Bay Aquatic Center's 20th anniversary celebration has been postponed until July 20 due to inclement weather, according to a news release issued Saturday.

           » Fun-Plex Water Park & Rides on 70th and Q Streets is closed until further notice after heavy rain flooded water attractions and damaged other equipment, according to a news release. The release said water levels reached five feet in some areas inside the park.

World-Herald staff writers Jourdyn Kaarre, Nancy Gaarder and Patrick Duprey contributed to this report.

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