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The bridge on Highway 281 over the Niobrara, south of Spencer Dam is gone. Highway 281 is already closed in this area.
Courtesy Photo Nebraska State Highway Patrol
The bridge on Highway 281 over the Niobrara, south of Spencer Dam is gone. Highway 281 is already closed in this area.

Dam collapses, evacuations underway along Niobrara River


News Staff - March 14, 2019

NORFOLK, NE - As widespread flooding threatens cities across the Midwest, a flash flood emergency resulting from a collapsed dam has triggered the evacuation of residents along the Niobrara River.

According to a report by the National Weather Service, the Spencer Dam at the Niobrara River failed around 5 p.m. Wednesday, March 13 2019, prompting the evacuation of residents.

The Knox County Sheriff's Office posted a notice on Facebook Thursday morning warning residents, noting that the dam had been "compromised."  That was later revised to a full-out collapse.

A third of the 24,000 residents in Norfolk, NE, were ordered to evacuate Thursday after the city's levee system "neared its top," city officials said. One person was reported missing after their car was swept away, News  Channel  Nebraska reported.

“Our ability to respond to emergencies is limited. This is a real threat for us. If that levee is breached, the water is trapped in town and we’ll see flooding like we haven’t seen since 1965 and there’s no where for the water to go,” Norfolk Public Safety Director Shane Weidner said.

A hospital and nursing home were evacuated in Genoa, Nebraska, after the Loup River overtopped an intake structure at the the Loup Power Division, New Channel Nebraska reported.

The Nebraska State Patrol is assisting with evacuations but are having trouble accessing the community, News Channel Nebraska reported. The station also notes there are "no safe evacuation routes."

At least 20 cities in Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota are reporting major flooding.



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