|Part of Sioux City, Iowa, was flooded yesterday by the swollen Missouri River. Northern Missouri was also flooding due to a surge of water being released from dams upstream. (Jim Lee/ Sioux City Journal via Associated Press)|
Rising water breaches Mo. levees, causes nuclear alert
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Several levees in northern Missouri were failing yesterday to hold back the surge of water being released from upstream dams.
Authorities said water, some of it from recent rain, began pouring over levees Saturday night and yesterday morning in Holt and Atchison counties, flooding farmland and numerous homes and cabins.
A hole in the side of a Holt County levee continued to grow yesterday, deluging the state park and recreational area of Big Lake, 78 miles north of Kansas City.
Army Corps of Engineers spokesman Kevin Wingert said engineers would monitor the overtopping to try to determine how much of an effect it will have on water flows downstream. “It’s too early to say what the full impact will be on it,’’ he said.
Meanwhile, the Nebraska Public Power District issued a flooding alert for its nuclear power plant in southeast Nebraska as the Missouri River continues to rise.
Mark Becker, a spokesman for the Columbus, Neb.-based utility, said the “notification of unusual event’’ sent to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission was expected as the river swells above record levels. The declaration is the least serious of four emergency notifications established by the federal commission.
The plant was operating at full capacity, and there was no threat to plant employees or to the public, Becker said.
In Missouri, presiding Holt County commissioner Mark Sitherwood said a stretch of US Route 159 is closed because water is pouring over the road; most of the west side of the community is underwater.
He said most people evacuated well in advance of the flooding. Those who stayed were told Saturday night that water was flowing into the area.
The river level has reached 44.6 feet, the highest on record.