Water had pooled Tuesday morning in the northeast part of Lot D, the large parking lot east of TD Ameritrade Park, after an overnight rain.
So what would happen if the skies really opened up?
Engineers with HDR Inc. have projected that as much as a foot of water would pool along the eastern edge of the stadium if a rainstorm dumps more than 2 inches of rain on downtown Omaha in a three- to four-hour period. Even more water — up to 4 feet — would pool near 11th and Nicholas Streets, which is northeast of the stadium across Cuming Street.
The projection was conducted with the assumption that the nearby Missouri River would be running at 33 feet, the level it's projected to hit by the weekend. The river now is running about 32.8 feet.
The National Weather Service said Omaha's Eppley Airfield received only a trace of rain overnight, but city officials on Tuesday attributed the pooling water in Lot D to a locally heavy rain.
Eppley is about 2½ miles northeast of the parking lot.
“The ground is so saturated,” HDR's Tim Crockett said Tuesday. “The stage of the river affects what you can discharge. All those factors come into play: The capacity of the storm water system, the sewer system.
“Also, you have to look at where are your discharge points. Are you able to discharge like you normally are?”
At a press conference Monday, Crockett and other officials displayed a map showing that a heavy rain would leave up to a foot of water from the stadium, through the Fan Fest area and east across 10th Street and Lot D to Riverfront Drive; north and west of the stadium across Cuming Street; and between Jones and Leavenworth Streets between the river and 9th Street.
The City of Omaha has been pumping water out of low-lying areas, and higher-capacity pumps are being shipped to town. But a big rain would keep crews from continuing to be able to pump out the water as it comes into storm water systems, officials say.
Under the scenario mapped out by HDR, water wouldn't encircle the stadium, said Marty Grate, the city's environmental services manager. But if pumps couldn't handle such heavy rains, it could lead to enough standing water nearby that a College World Series game could be postponed, he said.
“We're in uncharted territory here,” he said.
Officials said they wanted to alert area residents and businesses to potential sewer backups and standing water so that they could develop an evacuation plan and remove possessions from basements and, in some cases, the first floors of buildings.
Street flooding near the Hot Shops Art Center at 13th and Nicholas Streets has been commonplace since the center opened 10 years ago, building manager Tim Barry said.
“When it rains more than an inch and a half in a single storm,” Barry said, “we'll get those (storm water) grates popping off.”
The water, he said, will shoot five feet in the air.
Normally the water drains in four to six hours, Barry said. But with the ground saturated and the Missouri River running so high, he said, there's nowhere for the water to go.
Barry said his building would probably be OK under the scenario laid out by the city and HDR.
But the water — which Barry said contains sewage — would keep artists who use the building and their customers from getting in.
“It will essentially close us down as long as we have water in the streets,” he said.
Meteorologist Van DeWald, with the National Weather Service office in Valley, said rain is in the forecast for every day this week but Wednesday. He said, however, that he doesn't expect any heavy rainstorms in the near future.
Crockett said engineers now are working to map what would happen if 2.4 inches of rain would fall when the river hits 34, 35 and 36 feet.
“As the river stage continues to increase,” he said, “your options become limited as to where you can discharge” the excess water.
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