UPDATE, 8:25 a.m.: The evacuation order in Norfolk has been lifted, allowing people in the southeast part of the city to return to their homes and businesses there to reopen.


More than 1,000 Norfolk residents were staying in the city’s five shelters Thursday after people who live in areas threatened by floodwaters had to evacuate.

Shane Weidner, Norfolk’s public safety director, said late Thursday afternoon that Elkhorn River levels were reaching the record heights seen in June 2010. However, locations along the river west of Norfolk have reported slight reductions in water levels and no big ice jam threat, he said. The North Fork Flood Control Levee was holding, he said.

“The evacuated area is looking pretty good, fortunately,” Weidner said. “A lot of things upstream can affect this. We’re cautiously optimistic that we’re going to see improvement in the morning, so we’ll wait and see.”

The Nebraska National Guard was called in to assist in emergency operations across northeast Nebraska. That was on top of multiple local and state emergency management teams that were activated, as well as area law enforcement and first responders working after the widespread flooding.

At Shell Creek near Columbus, a farmer drove a tractor out to assist a motorist who was stuck in floodwaters and was swept away, said Bryan Tuma, assistant director of the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency.