by len hoskins
Nebraska City and the Missouri River valley,and other tributaries in a 25 mile radius of the city.... the WIlson Creek near Dunbar, the Weeping Water creek thru Union and across north of Nebraska City on Highway 75, the river north of Auburn and the Nishnabotna river and its tributaries east of Nebraska City thru RIverton,Farragut and Hamburg have been a terrific cost to the farmers, merchants, and families in all this area. And some lives on a bus headed for Lincoln..but never made it flooded west of Dunbar with the loss of lives as a bus overturned in the high water, including a former Safeway Store assistant manager and others whose bodies were never found.
these conditions have been traced clear back to 1881..where the Missouri RIver top height was 18.0 feet ranging far and wide...In 1938 it was 17 ft; 1942-18.43 ft . Then came the big one in 1952...which the CORP of ENGINEERS SAID IT WOULD NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN..A CREST OF 27.7 FT.
But back to what they called the granddaddy of 1952...
I was just a part of the help..along with all the boys at Nebraska City High School that gathered in Nebraska City to fight the flood , along with the 5th United States Army for weeks. Our high school boys, along with many other area high school boys and hundreds of volunteers from around the city and area..We filled sandbags, we stacked sandbags along the flashboards being built buy the 5th Army along the Plum Creek area in Iowa..But alas..all our worked went for naught as water surged over all the work and spreading all the way to the bluffs 12 miles away from Neb City to the east....Highway 2 was destroyed and when it reopened there were new bridges built along the way as the creeks in that area tore thru the area as well..A number of times a group of us got to go visit and eat with the 5th Army men who camped out on the Hayward Football field for a number of weeks
Even with all the dams, levees and other ideas..YES it did happen again.
2011....I think i was probably one of last to drive thru the water with the water lapping at my car bottom on the curve heading east away from the bridge..I wondered as I drove past all the businesses with the huge berms built around them-- could they possibly hold. No one knew at that time that would end traffic going east out of Neb City and travel on I-29 from Missouri border to north of Omaha for months
My brother-in-law Gary Barrett of Hamburg, a rural mail carrier in southeast Nebraska was soon to find out he wouldnt be able to get home to his wife, Carol Hoskins Barrett, for some period of time, having to stay with his brother in Auburn for sometime. So much damage, but thankfully NO loss of life.
HOPEFULLY there will never be another flood of this intensity..HOPEFULLY ALL THE WORK THE CORP OF THE ENGINEERS ARE PUTTING IN WILL HOLD THE WATER...THEY WILL NEVER BE FORCED TO RELEASE SUCH POWER OF WATER FROM THE DAMS AT THE NORTH END of the water system.