Flooding between West Point and Scribner

Kreg Schlautman took this drone photo of flooded Highway 275 between West Point and Scribner. 

High waters closed part of a Dodge County highway on the same day that Nebraska officials announced that all highway roads and bridges affected by the 2019 historic flooding are open.

The Nebraska Department of Transportation announced at 10 a.m. Friday that a 9-mile stretch of Highway 275 between Scribner and West Point was closed because of ice jams on the Elkhorn River.

Officials said water was over Highway 275 between Highways 32 and 91. They have closed that section to traffic in both directions, according to the Nebraska 511 website.

The National Weather Service issued a flood warning for Dodge County until 10:30 a.m. Saturday, which includes Scribner, the Dead Timber State Recreation Area and Crowell.

Thomas Smith, the emergency manager for Dodge County, said the flooded area is open farmland. His first year in the department was last year, during the historic flooding.

But in talking to other officials watching the flooding, he said ice jams are typical in this stretch of the Elkhorn River because of the way the river travels from a straightaway into several bends.

Smith said no county roads have closed because of the flooding.

“Everybody’s working together to watch it and make sure that everything comes out and we do the best we can,” he said.

State transportation officials announced Friday that the N-13 bridge east of Hadar, 4 miles north of Norfolk, was the last bridge to be reopened because of damage from 2019 flooding.

The March disaster closed 3,300 highway miles and 27 highway bridges, officials said.

A federal report released in January estimated that Nebraska suffered $3.4 billion in losses.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has said Missouri River conditions are ripe for another round of spring flooding.

Kreg Schlautman, who grew up in West Point and currently lives there, has been tracking the flooding all week. He has been taking photos on the ground and from the air with his drone, then posting them on Facebook.

“I’m just doing it to give people a different perspective of the flooding,” said Schlautman, a volunteer firefighter for West Point. “They might see it from the road but don’t see the actual extent of it from the air.”

He said no structures were flooding as far as he could see, but as of midday Friday the river flow was backed up a few miles north of the ice jam blockage.

People who live near low-lying areas understand that the risk of flooding exists, he said, but they’re on edge because of last year. He hoped the sun would come out to help break up the ice and get things moving again.

“You just have to know that this time of year, February to March, this kind of stuff does happen because we’re transitioning from winter to summer and the ice has to get broken up and down the river somehow,” he said. “People hear a warning about flooding and their heart sinks.”

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