Residents of nine Nebraska counties evacuate for flooding

Friday, June 3, 2011 | 6:32 p.m. CDT; updated 11:18 a.m. CDT, Thursday, June 16, 2011

LINCOLN, Neb. — Residents in nine eastern Nebraska counties have decided to leave their homes amid flooding of the Missouri and Platte rivers, state officials said Friday.

The Nebraska Emergency Management Agency reported mandatory evacuations have been ordered in some parts of Washington and Burt counties, but residents in the other affected counties are leaving voluntarily. Those counties include Richardson, Nemaha, Cass, Sarpy, Dixon, Dakota and Lincoln.

"Due to the high volumes of water entering the Missouri and Platte rivers, it will be some time before the waters can recede. You need to prepare to be affected for weeks and months," said Al Berndt, assistant director of NEMA. "We need the citizens of Nebraska to be proactive and assess their personal situations and take whatever proactive measures they can."

NEMA did not provide an exact number of affected residents. From the agency's update, the most affected communities appear to be Lake WaConDa in Cass County, where an estimated 40 to 110 homes are being voluntarily evacuated and large parts of Newcastle and Ponca in Dixon County.

The American Red Cross has opened shelters in Fort Calhoun and South Sioux City.

The Missouri River flows along the state's eastern border. The Platte forms from the North Platte and South Platte rivers at the city of North Platte, cutting through central Nebraska and to the southeast.

Both the Missouri and the Platte are swollen because of steady spring rain and above-normal snowpack that have filled upstream reservoirs. They're expected to reach record levels later in June and remain high into the fall.

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