South-Central Nebraska Flooding Moves Downstream, UNK Responds

by Will Bauer, NET News

July 10, 2019, 2:10 p.m.

Flooding in south-central Nebraska is expected to move elsewhere.

The National Weather Service said the water will continue to move down stream. They predict the Platte River near Grand Island will crest late Thursday afternoon. NWS also said flooding near Gibbon, Nebraska could reach record levels set in March.

Aaron Mangels, a meteorologist with NWS in Hastings, said this is normal flood behavior.

“That’s the way flooding works," Mangels said. "The water moves out of somewhere and it moves somewhere else. It will continue to do that all the way to the ocean, where it can spread out and not flood anything."

Flood waters will also move south to the Republican River basin, where Orleans, Nebraska is feeling the effects. NWS said there won’t be rain in the area until Friday, which should give time for some of the flooding to dry up.

The University of Nebraska at Kearney responded right away during the flooding in and around Kearney Tuesday. UNK opened up their residence halls and dining facilities to the community.

More than 250 people impacted by Tuesday’s flooding are staying in UNK residence halls, which were opened free of charge to provide assistance for area residents and travelers. (Corbey R. Dorsey, UNK Communications)

Todd Gottula, UNK spokesman, said nearly 250 people spent the night at UNK facilities. He said more from the Gibbon area continue to trickle in and many are travelers who were staying in local hotels.

“That was an easy choice," Gottula said. "Right away, when we saw there was a need, we met, we got together, we reacted quickly to serve people just as quickly as we could. That’s the Kearney way. That’s the UNK way.”

Gottula said UNK is prepared to house people as long as they need to. He expects that some people using UNK facilities will be able to return to their hotel or homes within the next two days.