HAMBURG, Iowa — Residents here woke up Thursday to lightning, rain and about a foot of Missouri River floodwater splashing against the temporary levee protecting their town.
“Fortunately, we're not getting much rain,” Hamburg Fire Chief Dan Sturm said. “If we would get some kind of rain event, we would have to start sandbagging over on the Nishnabotna River.”
The Nishnabotna flows past the east side of this town of 1,200, about 55 miles south of Omaha. It has been a secondary concern and is — so far — staying within its banks. City officials and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have focused on preventing the Missouri River from entering town from the south and west.
The corps said Thursday morning that the Missouri is running at 26.87 feet near Hamburg, nearly 9 feet over flood stage.
An around-the-clock operation has succeeded in building the Ditch 6 Levee to 8 feet tall, about 3 feet higher than the Corps of Engineers predicts the floodwaters will reach. The 3-mile-long ditch levee originally was built by local officials to keep drainage water out of Hamburg.
By Friday, water is expected to be within 3 feet of the top of the levee, said Col. Robert Ruch, corps district commander.
Contact the writer: 402-444-1272, firstname.lastname@example.org
Highway 2 under water east of Nebraska City (Video by World-Herald videographer Kyle Benecke)