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Heavy Rains, Minor Flooding Forecast For Southwest Iowa

Iowa DOT / https://hb.511ia.org/
Water is still over the roadway on northbound I-29 north of exit 66 in western Iowa.

Minor flooding is possible in parts of southwest Iowa later this week.
The National Weather Service says parts of western Iowa and eastern Nebraska remain under a flash flood watch through Wednesday morning. The rising Missouri River is predicted to crest less than half a foot above minor flood stage in the Omaha area on Friday. 

Monday’s river forecast showed the Missouri river spiking about 4 feet higher than current predictions. Pottawattamie County Emergency Management Director Doug Reed said the current forecast is a little bit of a relief, but he’s still watching for heavy rain and potential flooding in his area. 

“Just as things change overnight with new forecast model runs, a bulk of the storms and rain aren’t here yet,” Reed said. “We all know how Midwest weather likes to react. Just by the time we have Mother Nature figured out, she lets us know that we don’t.” 

Credit Courtesy of National Weather Service
The Missouri River at Omaha around 1:15 p.m. Oct. 1.

The National Weather Service expects parts of western Iowa to eastern Nebraska to get 1 to 3 inches of rain between now and Wednesday. Some areas could see even more. The region is also under a flash flood watch through Wednesday morning.

The rising Missouri River is expected to crest at the Plattsmouth, Neb. gauge 3 feet above minor flood stage on Friday, two feet lower than Monday’s prediction for the area. This is the gauge Mills County watches. Sheri Bowen, the public information officer for Mills County, said the county is viewing the threat of flooding this time around as a continuation of previous flooding.

“We’re not necessarily looking at flooding of housing or residential properties," Bowen said. "More flooding of roadways and actual access is the concern."

Bowen said people in the southwest portion of Mills County had already left their homes since previous flooding last month, and many still haven’t returned home since the flooding last March. Some gravel roads south of U.S. Highway 34 are closed because water is over the roads or they are in poor condition.

Katie Peikes was a reporter for Iowa Public Radio from 2018 to 2023. She joined IPR as its first-ever Western Iowa reporter, and then served as the agricultural reporter.