|Valley sees heavy rainfall but predicted flood fails to materialize|
|June 04, 2015 Jerry Purvis|
Photo by Anthony Brathwaite/Gering Citizen - The walking pathway at Avenue I/Five Rocks Road is flooded from the days of heavy rain. As of Tuesday, reports showed a warning of possible flooding near the river at Mitchell.
Although the river approached its banks and several venues along the river were temporarily closed, the recent wet weather didn’t produce the flood that was predicted.
“It looks like the water’s going down,” said Tim Newman, director of Region 22 Emergency Management Agency. “We expect to see some water releases from upstream, but they’ll probably wait until we get below flood stage. They’ll try to keep it underneath the flood level.”
Newman said Riverside Park is now open, although the fishing ponds and the Monument Valley Pathway are still closed.
“We didn’t have as big a problem as we thought we would,” Newman said. “They predicted record levels of flooding when the rain first started, but that prediction was downgraded within 24 hours. We used it as a learning tool and gathered some good information from the river gauges.”
Scottsbluff City Manager Rick Kuckkahn said that with the receding water levels, the city has opened up the Trails West YMCA Camp and the lift station that services the area. Power has been restored to the area.
“We’ve kept the pathway itself closed because there are some underlying problems from the standing water,” he said. “We’re going to have our engineers look at it to make sure it’s safe.”
Also still closed is the east part of Riverside Park, including the fishing ponds at the zoo.
“We’re getting back to normal, but the ponds are going to take some time to recede because that’s all water table related,” Kuckkahn said. “That will probably take another week before we’ll be able to open them up again.”
The Westmoor district in Scottsbluff is also prone to flooding problems. However, residents became more aware of the dangers since 2011, when high water stayed in the area for most of the summer.
“People in the Westmoor area need to be concerned about water in their basements,” Kuckkahn said. “We’re already seeing a number of sump pumps operating and discharging the water into the street, which we’ve asked them to do. The sewer was relined in 2011, so the neighborhood was prepared and we haven’t had any specific problems this time.”
Dean Behling, director of the Scottsbluff Family YMCA, said the city shut off the electricity to the Trails West Camp the first couple of days when more rain was anticipated.
“They got everything restored on Friday and we’re back in business,” Behling said. “The pathway is still closed for safety reasons, but we have our day camp kids out there and the swimming pool is full and ready for the kids to use. We also have some groups coming out this weekend. Unless the water flow changes, we’re in great shape.”
Ann James, director at the Riverside Discovery Center, said their operation is also back to normal. There’s no water on the grounds and the only challenge was over the weekend when Scottsbluff shut down its sewer lift station, leaving the center without service.