While weather is expected to improve for rescue efforts in Colorado, the flood threat is far from over as the flood crest continues to move downstream into Nebraska. These waters will inundate farms, agricultural fields, roadways and residences within the flood plain.
After a week of colossal flooding in Boulder, Colo., leaving 60 people unaccounted for and seven dead, floodwaters are now moving downstream along the South Platte River.
Towns in eastern Colorado have already experienced devastating flooding which incapacitated multiple gas and oil wells in the area. These wells have spilled chemicals and in some cases, thousands of gallons of oil into floodwaters and led to mounting concerns from officials regarding public health.
As floodwaters continue to flow, the flood crest, or the highest level that water on the river reaches before falling, has extended down the South Platte River.
"It's a done deal already on the South Platte," AccuWeather Expert Senior Meteorologist Jim Andrews said.
The South Platte River is a major river in Nebraska entering the state at the northeast corner of Colorado.
The river begins south of Denver in the Rockies, flows through the city toward northern Colorado and then turns east. Soon after it enters the state of Nebraska it meets the North Platte River at North Platte and becomes the Platte River. It continues near Omaha and finally dumps into the Missouri River.
While Denver missed the serious flooding as the worst of the rain fell northward along the Front Range, towns along the South Platte River will not be so lucky.
Flood warnings are already in effect for areas on the main stream of the river and those who live or own property in the flood plain are at the greatest risk.
On Sunday afternoon, the Platt River reached a record-level crest of at least 10 feet in Brady, Neb. The river broke the previous crest record set in 1973.
Later Sunday evening, emergency managers reported flooding in Lincoln County, Neb., as water ran across roadways into corn and alfalfa fields.
With the high water levels predicted, agricultural flooding will be a huge problem as floodwaters pose serious threats to property, crops, livestock and well water in the area.
"Anyone with any kind of agriculture in the river bottom is going to run the risk of losing property and losing crops," Andrews said. "Summer crops will not have been brought in by then."
Unprotected houses could also be swamped with floodwaters along with roadways in the vicinity of the river.
Even though the farther the flood crest travels the more subdued it gets, residents along the river should take the necessary precautions, pay attention to local authorities and evacuate if and when necessary.
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