MOTHER NATURE HAS MET HER MATCH
THAT’S THE POWER OF THE PAPIO NRD
Water Is Power
The power of water is often misunderstood and underappreciated until its destruction is seen in action. Unfortunately, the Omaha metro and surrounding areas recently got a stark reminder, when a rare winter storm, a “BOMB CYCLONE” hit Nebraska and surrounding states.
As blizzard conditions unleashed in the western part of the state, 3 inches of rain fell in the east. The “perfect storm” of heavy rains, frozen ground, and snowmelt, resulted in the historic flood of March 2019.
Power of Papio NRD
Inside the Omaha metro area and Papillion Creek Basin Watershed, there was minimal flooding during the Flood of 2019 due to flood mitigation infrastructure the Papio NRD has built over the past four decades.
For example, the levee and channel widening projects on the West Papillion Creek in Sarpy County held the water at bay, preventing an incalculable amount of public and private property loss in the City of Papillion, and potential loss of life.
Water held in its banks by West Branch Papillion Creek Levee at 84th Street Bridge in Papillion.
The flood occurred just weeks before the Papio NRD was to begin federally mandated upgrades to the levees. Fortunately, six months later, the Papio NRD, in cooperation and coordination with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), started the levee construction. The project is estimated to be completed by 2021. (The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers is responsible for managing the Missouri River and the Papio NRD operates and maintains over 16 miles of levees along the Missouri River and Papillion Creek.)
However, the March 2019 flood severely damaged areas outside the Omaha metro area, such as the Missouri River Levee System that protects Offutt Air Force Base, resulting in damages estimated to exceed $1 billion. The nearby Papillion Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant and levee system sustained more than $45 million in damage.
In 1964, the story was much different. The flood took 7 lives and left an underprepared Omaha metro in devastation.
In 1964, the story was much different. The flood of 1964 took seven lives and left an underprepared Omaha metro in devastation.
On June 16th and 17th, 1964, seven people lost their lives and millions of dollars in personal property losses occurred. Ninety-five trailer homes were swept more than a half mile downstream by torrential flooding in the Millard area.
During that storm, eight inches of rain falling for three hours on Hell Creek flowing down from Boys Town into the West Papio Creek created a roaring torrent of water 50 feet wide with waves five feet high. In its wake, houses were moved off their foundations and garages were destroyed.
1964 flood-damaged cars and trucks at former Fishko Chevy dealership in Papillion.