One dead after powerful storm at Lake McConaughy

One dead after powerful storm at Lake McConaughy
Photo Courtesy: Sonya Deinert

The relentless storms have turned tragic.

The storm that struck Lake McConaughy on Sunday has claimed a life, the National Weather Service has reported.

And on Tuesday, a railroad levee in Colfax County was breached, with flooding possible Tuesday night into Wednesday in the town of Rogers, some 20 miles west of Fremont.

More campgrounds and recreation areas along the Missouri River closed Tuesday as water levels rose. Among those that closed were Haworth Park in Bellevue and Riverview Marina in Otoe County. N.P. Dodge Park in Omaha closed Monday, and Wilson State Recreation Area in Iowa closed last week. The Missouri River is forecast to crest later this week, causing moderate flooding in areas in Nebraska and Iowa, but only minor flooding in the Omaha metro area.

Also on Tuesday, Gov. Pete Ricketts joined the Nebraska National Guard on an aerial tour of flooded counties. Nebraska agencies are working with local and federal officials to provide assistance and assess the extent of damage.

At Lake McConaughy, 80 to 100 mph winds on Sunday downed trees and tree limbs and rolled tents and campers. At Little Thunder Bay Campground, a male camper was fatally injured when a limb fell on him as he was getting out of his tent, according to the weather service. A woman at the campground was hospitalized after the camper she was in rolled several times and landed in the lake.

The weather service said floodwaters breached a railroad levee in Colfax County on Tuesday and spilled into the surrounding area.

A number of roads remained closed Tuesday due to flooding, while others had reopened. Notably, U.S. 275 was still closed Tuesday evening from West Point southeast to the Winslow area. Nebraska 91 was closed between Blair and Nickerson.

The Nebraska State Patrol advised residents in the Pender area of Thurston County to stay home if possible.

Tom Perez, emergency management director for Thurston County, said the advisory was mostly due to flooding on county roads. One or two motorists, he said, have had their vehicles stall in standing water.

“On some of the roads, the water is covering them and drivers can’t see how deep it really is,” Perez said.

Larry Foster, Council Bluffs’ director of parks, recreation and public properties, said officials are keeping an eye on Missouri River levels. He said it’s unclear whether the flooding will affect the Great American Lobster Fest event scheduled for Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Other streams with flood warnings include portions of the Elkhorn and Big Blue Rivers and Shell and Pebble Creeks.

World-Herald staff writer Jay Withrow contributed to this report.