Severe Flooding Impacting Douglas County

Mayor Jean Stothert has declared a state of emergency for the City of Omaha, which will allow emergency funds to be used to help with flood cleanup and aid.

The mayor and other city and county officials held a press conference on Friday to update residents on local flooding and to stress residents should put safety first.

The Department of Natural Resouces said levels are stabilizing, but there's still a lot of water in the basin and extended high flows are possible for quite some time. All officials urged residents to heed evacuation warnings and to get away from floodwater, so they don't find themselves in need of evacuation.

Douglas County Emergency Management Director Paul Johnson said there are flooding issues on both sides of the county. A breach in a dike in Dodge County had already greatly impacted Valley and Waterloo. Access to Valley has been restricted, and Q Street currently serves as the only way to get to Waterloo.

Officials are not sure exactly how many rescues have been completed, but did say about 200 people were evacuated from rural stream areas and asked that drivers stop trying to travel to evacuated areas as they are preventing others from getting out.

Some people refused to follow evacuations, which has created dangerous situations. Stothert gave an update on the status of the wastewater treatment plant that was shut down by flooding. While it is closed, wastewater from 600,000 residents will enter the Missouri River without treatment. A second wastewater plant remains operational, she says.

Douglas County Health Director Dr. Adi Pour says anyone going to help with cleanup should make sure to have a tetanus shot. Floodwater can not only be harmful to rescuers but also when it gets into septic tanks and private wells. She recommends cleaning tanks and any water contaminating homes as soon as possible.

Highway 275 between Omaha and Fremont has been closed due to flooding. Westbound West Dodge was shutdown at 204th because of the flooding on the Elkhorn.

In Sarpy County a levee breach on the Missouri River near Harlan Lewis Road and LaPlatte forced some evacuations. Authorities advised residents living in the areas near the Missouri or Platte Rivers to evacuate immediately to avoid being trapped.

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