By Thursday evening, the Missouri River at Plattsmouth had already exceeded the levels it reached in 2011.
The Missouri is expected to reach record levels at Brownville, Nebraska, perhaps as soon as Friday evening. If those levels are reached, federal levees on both the Iowa and Nebraska side would be overtopped, according to projections by the weather service. If that happens, Interstate 29 would be inundated. Additionally, high flows from farther north could again close Interstate 680 in Iowa and Interstate 29 north of Council Bluffs.
What’s not immediately clear is whether bridges that span the Missouri River would be as inaccessible as they were in 2011.
Additionally, the rising Missouri River could force a shutdown of Nebraska’s only nuclear plant, Cooper Nuclear Station, which is near Brownville. The Nebraska Public Power District has been sandbagging the plant and preparing for that possibility.
On Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers increased flows from Gavins Point Dam to 90,000 cubic feet per second in an effort to release floodwater coming in from the Niobrara River. Those increases are more than four times what the corps was discharging from the dam just a week ago.