The baby clothes have been brought up from the basement.
The doll made so many years ago by a great-grandmother has come upstairs as well.
Anita and Chris Long say they're as ready as they can be if the levee breaks, sending Missouri River floodwater toward their northeast Omaha home, located in the 4700 block of North 14th Street.
“If it happens, it happens,” Anita Long said Thursday.
The Longs are among the approximately 5,700 Omaha residents who received flood warnings last week from the city. That number is twice the city's original estimate of 2,700 Omahans at risk. The City of Carter Lake has sent a similar letter to its 3,800 residents.
Anita Long said she “freaked out” when she got the Omaha letter.
“Oh, my gosh, really?” she recalls thinking. “It really scared me.”
But after talking with neighbors, she calmed down and with her husband made plans.
“The city gave us a plan, and it's up to us to act on it,” she said. “Our neighbors said, ‘It's happened before here. You can get over it. You're not going to lose everything, but it's really messy.'”
Omaha Assistant Fire Chief Dan Stolinski said he's not sure why Omaha's original estimate was so far off, but he's glad that direct mailings have gone out.
“I feel better about it, we're trying to do everything we can to get the word out,” he said.
The city has estimated that about 10,700 people live in areas that could flood on the Omaha side of the levee: the 5,700 in Omaha, the 3,800 in Carter Lake, and about 1,200 people in homeless shelters and the Omaha Correctional Center.
Those facilities have their own evacuation plans, Stolinski said.
Omaha and Carter Lake are advising residents to be prepared for being away from their homes indefinitely should the levee break, and they are being told that they should at least have three days' supplies with them.
Among the items they should have ready at a moment's notice: keys, eyeglasses, medications, family pets, cash, credit cards, cellphones, chargers, identification and purses or wallets. People also are being advised to take proof of address, such as a utility bill or ID card.
Both cities will have police officers directing traffic out along main roads, which for northeast Omaha would primarily be the Storz Expressway, or as second and third options, Abbott Drive or west on Fort Street.
The cities are counting on people to have pre-determined a place to stay. But those needing shelter are being advised to meet at Omaha North High School, 4401 N. 36th St.
Anyone who would need transportation assistance has been asked to call 211 ahead of time to make arrangements.
Advice on how to prepare a house for departure includes plugging lower-level drains; turning off the water, natural gas and electricity; locking the home but leaving the curtains open; taping a note with contact information on the house; and taking pets.
If an evacuation were necessary, both cities would send police or firefighters through neighborhoods to warn residents. Carter Lake plans to sound its sirens, and both communities will notify the news media to get word out. Omaha also plans to use social media outlets.
The Longs, like others living nearby, are counting on a very important neighbor — Eppley Airfield — to protect them.
Officials at Eppley Airfield are spending millions in their battle with the Missouri River, with most of that going toward pumping out groundwater and rainwater, suppressing sand boils and reinforcing the levee.
“My opinion is that we're too close to the airport to flood,” Chris Long said. “They're not going to let it flood. It's a money-maker.”
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