COUNCIL BLUFFS — While the Army Corps of Engineers announced this week that the scaling back of water releases from Gavins Point Dam would be delayed by three days, Pottawattamie County continues to prepare for people to return to their homes.
The current release rate from the dam is 150,000 cubic feet per second; it is scheduled to be reduced by 5,000 cfs daily starting Aug. 18 as part of the effort to return Missouri River flows to normal levels. The corps had said earlier that the reductions would begin Aug. 15.
Pottawattamie County public information officer Matt Wilber said he expects the Missouri River levels at Council Bluffs to fluctuate at around 34 feet until the releases start to drop. It takes three days for water from Gavins Point to reach Council Bluffs.
Wilber said packets from the county should be sent out this week to homeowners affected by flooding. The packets include information and answers to frequently asked questions.
"Hopefully it will take care of some questions people have," he said. "We want to eliminate as many calls to department heads as we can; we want them working on getting people into their homes, not answering questions."
Council Bluffs public information officer Don Gross continued to warn people to stay off the levee after a 77-year-old man was cited for trespassing after attempting to drive on the levee north of the Narrows Park.
Another milestone also was reached: The Public Works Department responded to its 400th incident report on the levee. From animal burrows to sand boils, the crews have been handling every report.
It also was announced Wednesday that the only active flood shelter in the metropolitan area will once again go on standby.
On Friday at noon, the American Red Cross will transition its shelter at First Congregational United Church of Christ at 611 First Ave. to standby status. When a shelter is on standby, it can be reopened at a moment's notice should the need arise.
Other shelters remain on standby in Harrison County in Iowa as well as Cass, Cedar, Dixon, Douglas, Sarpy and Thurston Counties in Nebraska.