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January 2015 Ice Jam


In late December 2014 and early January 2015, cold temperatures and winter conditions set the stage for possible ice jams along the Platte and Elkhorn Rivers.

The partnership between various NRDs, state and federal agencies, and local governments kept a watchful eye on the river conditions. On January 26th, 2015, ice chunks, broken up from upstream, started flowing downstream and began to get caught up in an area just downstream of the Highway 92 bridge. On January 27th, early in the morning, volunteer fire departments had to rescue people from flooded campgrounds at Two Rivers State Park in Douglas County. Papio-Missouri River NRD staff flew the river and noticed an ice jam along the Platte River extending approximately 1.5 miles from just south of the extension of Q street. Significant flooding was observed between Saunders County Roads K and L. Some homes along the river had to be protected and evacuated.

Ice Jam flooding

Part of the ice jam pushed up against the Clear Creek Levee, which is part of an Army Corps of Engineers Wester Sarpy Clear Creek Levee project in Saunders County. Seepage through the levee was observed at various points and the contractor working on the levee worked quickly to shore up the levee. The Papio-Missouri River NRD consulted the partner agencies and declared a flood emergency on the 27th. The ice jam explosives contractor (Dykon Explosives out of Tulsa, OK) was notified to mobilize for blasting operations. The NRD considered two major impacts: the condition of the Clear Creek levee and the forecast for more cold temperature later in the week.

On January 28th, the ice jam and flooding conditions stabilized throughout the day and blasting operations were set up at the Two Rivers State Park. On January 29th, a channel had opened up in the ice jam and was beginning to flow. Floodwaters receded and began to fall as the ice surged downstream. No additional flooding was reported and the natural release of the ice jam made the NRD call off the blasting operations.

A report from the Papio-Missouri River NRD can be found here.

Photographs from the Papio-Missouri River NRD can be found here.

Photographs from after the ice jam can be found here.