Rivers Rise, Watching for Ice Jams

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The National Weather Service (NWS) issued a statement today (Friday) saying: "Widespread and extremely unsafe flooding will continue today and tonight".

The U.S. Coast Guard says all traffic on the Missouri River from about 50 miles south of Omaha, Nebraska, downstream to St. Joseph, Missouri, has been shut down due to the river's high water levels.

Many central Iowa rivers may see moderate flooding into next week from the rain and snowmelt runoff, the weather service said.

Other variables include relocation of water by a dam breach or increased flow from a dam releasing more water upstream.

A Nebraska utility is adding sandbags to the levee that protects its nuclear power plant along the swollen Missouri River.

The potential for ice jams still remains in New Hamburg, Plattsville, Six Nations Territory, Cayuga and Port Maitland.

A flood warning has been issued for the Missouri River at Kansas City as well. Through the weekend, the most significant flooding is forecast to shift to the larger rivers in the region.

Mark Becker, spokesperson for the Nebraska Public Power District told NPR the plant will continue operating for the foreseeable future.

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Sarpy County officials urged all residents directly along the Platte and Missouri rivers to evacuate Friday morning as water levels continued to rise. Electricity then would be delivered from other sources. During the historic summer flooding in 2011, Cooper sandbagged and barricaded the doorways but kept functioning.

Moderate to major river flooding across parts of the MS and Missouri river valleys may also persist into the weekend.

The Saginaw River is expected to crest around 17.4 feet in Bay and Saginaw counties on Sunday morning.

The high water pushed some waterways to record levels in Nebraska, South Dakota, Iowa and Minnesota.

Flooding is also common across Iowa, with numerous roads statewide closed. State police said first-responders say at least 21 homes were damaged, though no injuries have been reported.

As of 6.15pm today, there were 57 flood warnings and 68 flood alerts in place across England, mostly concentrated in the north and west.

The flooding came in the wake of what meteorologists call a "bomb cyclone", a winter hurricane that forms when the barometric pressure drops 24 millibars in 24 hours.

Soil moisture plays an important role too, especially when the ground is frozen.

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