Bike trail reopens: The City of Omaha reopened the portion of the Missouri Riverfront Trail that had been closed for flood-related construction. The trail had been closed for about two weeks.
Shift in sandbagging: Omaha will soon shift its sandbagging operation farther south so that more sandbags are staged in the downtown area, said Melinda Pearson, head of the city's parks department. On Saturday, volunteers can still report to Levi Carter Park from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. On Thursday, sandbagging will be done in a parking lot across from the Civic Auditorium.
Omaha pump work done: City officials say they've completed the last of the pump installations that will serve to pump the water from heavy rains out of the city and into the Missouri River. The pumps installed have been concentrated in three spots, with those near Rick's Cafe Boatyard able to pump 500 million gallons a day, should heavy rains occur.
FEMA aid should help OPPD: Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., said he believes that federal disaster aid will be awarded to the Omaha Public Power District for some of its flooding costs. Nelson toured OPPD's coal plant near Nebraska City and talked with Nebraska City and Otoe County officials. In Nebraska City, officials are concerned about flooding's effects on the wastewater treatment system. Nelson said he wanted to hear directly from those affected, including farmers, so that he could carry their concerns back to Washington, D.C.
Levee reinforcement: An estimated 400 feet of levee near Haworth Park in Bellevue will be reinforced this week. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced Friday that a contract is being awarded and work will begin this weekend to apply seepage berms to the levee. The levee protecting Haworth Park was reinforced about two weeks ago, and this additional work extends the support, corps officials said.
Oil damage not significant: Damage around a North Dakota oil well site where officials believe floodwaters shifted a storage tank, causing at least 900 gallons of oil to spill into the Missouri River, does not appear to be significant, state health department officials said Friday. The tank is at a well site owned by Ryan Exploration Inc., which has committed to cleaning up the mess. The site is among about 40 on the flood plain southwest of Williston, N.D., shut down under state orders when the river started to rise in May. State health officials said another company discovered the spill Wednesday and immediately started efforts to contain the oil and clean it up.
Flooding is historic: The 2011 Missouri River flood in South Dakota is the subject of a new display at the state Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre. State Historical Society officials say the flooding might not be a century-old event, but it's certainly historic. Items on display include such things as a shovel used to fill sandbags and T-shirts made to raise money for flood victims. Museum curator Dan Brosz says officials want to collect items from the southeast part of the state so that affected cities such as Dakota Dunes and Yankton are represented.
Train travel: Disruptions caused by Midwest flooding have inundated Amtrak with delays and extra expense this summer while dampening the spirits of passengers traveling popular routes, forcing them in some cases to hop off the train and onto chartered buses. Amtrak's Empire Builder, its most popular cross-country route, normally takes travelers from Chicago through the Rocky Mountains before heading to the Northwest. But for several weeks, westbound riders have gone no farther than St. Paul, Minn. Riders on the California Zephyr fare better, but eastbound riders stopping at Omaha on the San Francisco-to-Chicago line must hop off in Lincoln and ride a bus for an hour. Some good news arrived Thursday: The full eastbound Empire Builder route will reopen Sunday, after more than a month of service suspensions. Westbound trains will leave Chicago for Portland and Washington starting Monday.
World-Herald staff writers Nancy Gaarder and Sam Womack, with the Associated Press