NWS Says 2020 Flood Risk Above Average

by Allison Mollenkamp, NET News

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Feb. 5, 2020, 5:05 p.m.

The National Weather Service held a public meeting in Fremont last night to inform residents about flooding risk factors this year.

A large crowd gathered in Fremont’s Christensen Field Arena, with volunteers having to set out extra folding chairs for those wanting to know more about the potential for a repeat of last year’s flooding.

The national weather service hosted the meeting, and the main presentation covered several risk factors.

Flooding last year was caused by a combination of frozen soil, snowpack, heavy rain, and river ice.

Some of those factors this year, like river levels and soil moisture, are above average. Others, like snowpack and river ice, don’t represent a significant risk this year.

Dave Pearson is a service hydrologist for the National Weather Service in Valley, Nebraska. He says the overall flood risk is above average.

“That is the current information. That’s what we have to show. Again the big thing is, when you walk out the door tonight, to not think, ‘well, it’s gonna flood for sure,’" Pearson said. "What we know is what we know today, and that information will be updated in the coming weeks. So I encourage you to seek that out.”

Staci Manzer’s home in Fremont flooded last year, and she attended the meeting to learn about this year’s risk.

“He gave us a lot of information and really broke down what happened last year. It’s much more clear how that perfect storm happened," Manzer said. "So seeing where we’re at this year compared to… is definitely more comforting than we were concerned about.”

The national weather service plans to hold similar meetings in Columbus, Norfolk, and Bellevue, as well as Fremont County, Iowa in February and March.