Man missing after Spencer Dam collapse is identified

A Nebraska man who is still missing after floodwaters demolished the Spencer Dam on Thursday has been identified.

Emergency Management Director Douglas Fox confirmed that Kenny Angel is missing. Angel lived on the Holt County side of the Niobrara River, Fox said, and was in his house near the dam when he went missing. His family has been unable to be reached.

Fox is director of Region 24 Emergency Management, which covers Boyd, Brown, Cherry, Keya Paha and Rock Counties.

Also missing is Scott E. Goodman, 30, of Norfolk, who the Norfolk Daily News reported was seen standing on his car and then being carried away by a surge of water.

Three people have died in the floods: Betty Hamernik, 80, of Columbus; James Wilke, 50, of Columbus; and Aleido Rojas Galan, 55, of Norfolk.

Casino offers shelter to Santee Tribe

On the Santee Indian Reservation in northeast Nebraska, the tribe's Ohiya Casino and Resort became a temporary shelter for about 200 tribal members displaced by flooding and power outages.

"The casino has taken care of them," said Roger Trudell, tribal chairman of the Santee Sioux Nation, who planned to move back to his home Tuesday night.

The tribe's water system was knocked out by flooding and wasn't operational until Monday afternoon, and the water was only suitable for flushing toilets and showers.

On Tuesday, a shipment of bottled water and other supplies arrived from Omaha-area churches, Trudell said. And a GoFundMe account started by the tribe (for a new, $15,000 water pump and other repairs) has raised $6,400.

"We appreciate every cent that's been donated to us," Trudell said.

Others wishing to donate can call the tribal headquarters in Niobrara at 1-402-857-2772.

Some roads reopening

Some roads in the Omaha area have reopened after being closed because of flooding.

Nebraska Highway 64 (West Maple Road) from Waterloo to Omaha is open. Drivers can take West Maple to U.S. Highway 275 and head north into Fremont.

Highway 275 is open between Waterloo and Fremont, but it's closed south of Waterloo.

U.S. Highway 77 north and south out of Fremont also is open.

Also, both directions of Nebraska Highway 370 (Mission Avenue) are open at the Bellevue Toll Bridge.

Nebraska Highway 36 into Fremont has one lane of traffic open, the Nebraska Department of Transportation said. Traffic will navigate the highway Tuesday under the direction of a pilot car. Officials ask that motorists be patient while using the highway.

In northeast Nebraska, U.S. Highway 275 is open from O’Neill to Wisner, the transportation department said. Farther south, officials also announced that U.S. Highway 136 in Beatrice is once again open to traffic.

U.S. Highway 81 south of Columbus is open to passenger vehicles only, the Nebraska State Patrol said on Twitter.

West Dodge Road heading west out of Omaha has significant damage, as does West Center Road, roads officials said. 

West Dodge remains closed from east of 204th Street (the entrance into Elkhorn) west to Highway 275.  

Check for other updates at www.511.nebraska.gov.

Timeline for levee repairs uncertain

It will be some weeks before the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has a solid idea of the extent of damage and amount of time it will take to repair federal levees, according to Col. John Hudson, commander of the Omaha District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Levees, which line streams across Nebraska, are owned and operated by various levels of government.

The corps oversees those that have met federal standards for height and construction.

“There is an enormous workload ahead before we can at least begin stabilizing flood protection,” he said. “It’s going to take us several weeks to get our arms around it, just because of the size of the damage.”

Federal levees can be found around local communities, but it will be along the Missouri River from Bellevue southward that the corps will have its biggest challenge, he said.

“It’s too hard to speculate, at this point,” how long it will take to repair the entire system, he said.

The corps considers all of its Nebraska/Iowa levees south of Offutt Air Force Base to be compromised. Some have holes in them and aren’t functioning at all; others have been weakened yet still perform a level of flood protection.

With spring rains ahead, the gaps and weaknesses in the levee system will leave communities vulnerable to new flooding.

There are about 410 miles of levees in Nebraska, many of which are not federal levees, and many of the non-federal levees were damaged too. 

Light rain expected Tuesday

Light rain is expected Tuesday, with .10 to .20 of an inch of rain expected north of the Platte River.

The National Weather Service forecast calls for almost half an inch of rain south of Interstate 80 in southeast Nebraska. This system will rotate through the area Tuesday, with most of the precipitation ending in southeast Nebraska and southwest Iowa Tuesday evening. 

A warming trend  is predicted, with temperatures from the 40s Tuesday to well into the 50s by Thursday afternoon. Temperatures are expected to break 60 on Friday. 

At 6 a.m. Tuesday, the water level on the Elkhorn River at Waterloo measured 13.5 feet, just below the 14-foot flood stage. The projection is for the river to fall to 9.1 feet by 7 a.m Wednesday. 

The Missouri River at Omaha was at 33.8 feet as of 5:45 a.m. The river's flood stage is 29 feet. Water is not expected to dip under that mark until sometime Saturday. 

Glenwood issues boil order

Glenwood (Iowa) Municipal Utilities has issued a boil order beginning at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.

In response to the electrical outage at its water treatment facility, the utility will be adding water to its system to assure water will continue to be available for their customers. Water should be boiled before it's consumed, Mills County Emergency Management officials said. It is safe to use for bathing and household activities, the officials said. Water conservation is still required.

Free drinking water can be picked up at Glenwood City Hall, 5 N. Vine St., in Glenwood.

Preliminary damage estimates released

The Nebraska Emergency Management Agency has posted estimates of monetary damages from flooding and recent storms across the state. The numbers are updated as local emergency management teams are able to assess the damage across their counties. You can see the full list here.

Fort Calhoun nuclear storage called safe by OPPD

The spent nuclear fuel stored on an elevated concrete pad  on the Omaha Public Power District property that hosted the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Station is safe from the flooding of 2019, OPPD officials say.

OPPD is decommissioning and deconstructing the former nuclear power plant north of Omaha that saw significant flooding in 2011, and the parts that remain have been protected from Missouri River floodwaters with artificial barriers and sandbags, officials said. 

The fuel sits inside steel-lined, air-tight, waterproof concrete casings on the pad.

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Nextdoor to be used as messaging system

Waterloo and Valley residents are encouraged to register on the Nextdoor app either on mobile devices or on the website, www.nextdoor.com. The Douglas County Emergency Management Agency will use this app to send out key messages in the coming days to those who live in the affected areas.

>> Anyone with concerns about pets in flooded areas can contact the Nebraska Humane Society at 402-444-7800. The humane society was headed to western Douglas County on Monday with rescue personnel to check on animals.

>> Any affected people with unmet needs can contact 211 for assistance, officials said. Family reunification needs also can be directed to 211.

In addition, officials with the Metropolitan Utilities District said drinking water provided by MUD continues to meet all state and federal standards. MUD is monitoring conditions on the Missouri and Platte Rivers and at all of its facilities.

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kevin.cole@owh.com, 402-444-1272

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