Flood aid centers: Missouri River flood victims in nine Nebraska counties can apply for government aid at flood aid centers in Blair and Tekamah.
Nebraska and the Federal Emergency Management Agency will open the centers Tuesday, with hours from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.
The Blair center is at the Washington County Courthouse, 1555 Colfax St. The Tekamah center is in the City Auditorium at 1315 K St. After Tuesday, the hours at the Blair center will be Mondays through Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. The Tekamah center will be open Wednesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Counties designated for assistance to individuals are Boyd, Burt, Cass, Dakota, Dixon, Douglas, Knox, Sarpy and Washington. Flood victims can visit either disaster recovery center to apply for assistance.
Victims can register with FEMA by calling 800-621-3362 or online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov. Applicants should have their Social Security numbers, current and pre-disaster addresses, descriptions of losses caused by the disaster, insurance information, total household income and contact information.
Branstad, Reynolds visit: Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds will hold a meeting next month in Council Bluffs with officials and residents to discuss Missouri River flooding and overall river management.
The meeting will be at Iowa Western Community College's Looft Hall on Sept. 9, from 1 p.m. to 3:45 p.m., and will consist of an hourlong public round-table discussion with community leaders followed by an open discussion with the public.
Now open: Buffalo Bill Ranch State Historical Park and its recreation area near North Platte have been reopened to the public. The area was closed in early June because of potential flooding from the North Platte River. It was feared river floodwaters would spill over into Scout Creek, which runs through the park. The park sits on the northwest side of North Platte. Berms and other flood-protection measures had to be undone or cleared away before the park could be reopened. Park superintendent Aric Riggins estimated the park lost more than 20,000 visitors and $25,000-$30,000 in income.
Damage costs: Camp Dresser and McKee Inc., a worldwide engineering consulting firm with an office in Kansas City, was hired by the Council Bluffs City Council on Monday to help assess damage costs inflicted on the city by high water levels on the Missouri River. The firm will also make recommendations on infrastructure repairs. The cost to hire the firm will depend on the amount of damage discovered during the investigation, though the council voted not to spend more than $500,000 unless the council agrees to go higher at a later date. The company, also known as CDM, will undertake a multiphase program to assess flood damages and recommend repairs to the city's public infrastructure. The work must conform to Federal Emergency Management Agency guidelines with the goal of securing federal funds to help pay for the repairs, according to city Public Works officials.
Recovery centers: The Federal Emergency Management Agency says it has opened two recovery centers for flood victims in Blair and Tekamah. The disaster centers were scheduled to open at 1 p.m. Tuesday. The Blair Disaster Recovery Center is at 1555 Colfax St. Federal officials say they will keep it open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Saturday, until further notice. The Tekamah Center will be open for three days at the Tekamah City Auditorium at 1315 K. St. It will be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays.
Rerouted: Coal trains are being rerouted from Montana, Wyoming and Nebraska through Colorado because of flooding. BNSF Railway officials said they were rerouting about 20 loaded trains a day south through Sterling, then Denver, La Junta and onto Kansas City. The company is working as fast as possible to fix flooded tracks, in some cases raising them up eight feet to prevent future flooding.
FEMA disaster declaration: Federal officials have expanded a disaster declaration for six western Iowa counties hammered by Missouri River flooding.
Gov. Terry Branstad on Monday announced the new declaration by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, saying it would enable local officials to begin permanent repairs to damaged infrastructure, such as roads and bridges. Earlier declarations were focused on initial cleanup. The new declaration covers Fremont, Harrison, Mills, Monona, Pottawattamie and Woodbury Counties.
From World-Herald staff writer Susan Szalewski, the World-Herald News Service and the Associated Press