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The Antelope County Emergency Manager and Road Superintendent are issuing a travel warning.
With recent rain, the roads have deteriorated, some to the point of impassable. They are asking for travel to be limited or alternative routes be chosen if possible.
They have received several calls of vehicles stuck and needing assistance. The weather will dictate the response of the road department to repair new damage and continue with flood damage.
The Antelope County Emergency Manager and Road Superintendent thank you for your cooperation.
Rural Antelope County residents wondering about their mail can rest assured knowing postal employees are delivering to every location they can.
"Postal employees are making deliveries on open roads," said Postmaster Nick Ramold on Tuesday. "If a road is closed, we can't make those deliveries, but we are traveling on roads that are deemed safe to make deliveries."
Ramold is based in Neligh but works with the post offices in Orchard, Royal, Clearwater and Oakdale. Ramold is working with emergency officials to not only ensure mail is delivered to most of the county, but also to keep his drivers safe.
School won't be in session until at least “two to three more days” in Antelope County thanks to dangerous rural road conditions.
Local school administrators met with emergency management officials Sunday afternoon at the Antelope County Law Enforcement Center to discuss the rural roads situation. Antelope County Emergency Manager Bob Moore advised school administrators “to stand down with opening up and give us at least until Wednesday.”
Neligh-Oakdale Superintendent Scott Gregory asked for clarification, "You're saying no school Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and to assess possibly a Thursday start."
County Road Superintendent Casey Dittrich said that is the county's recommendation, which concurred with what was said earlier by those in attendance, including Mike Mortensen, deputy director of Antelope County Emergency Management, and Commissioner Charlie Henery.
School officials from Clearwater, Orchard, Neligh-Oakdale, St. Boniface/Pope John, Elgin and Elkhorn Valley were all in attendance, as was Neligh Postmaster Nick Ramold. Multiple law enforcement from the Antelope County Sheriff's Department and Neligh Police Department were also present.
All of the administrators said they had no issues with calling off school until the roads were deemed safe.
Anyone with questions regarding school closures should contact their respective superintendent, not the county road superintendent, who is handling the road situation.
Antelope County Emergency Manager Bob Moore said the Elkhorn River ice jam located east of the Singing Bridge and 519 Bridge between Clearwater and Neligh has broken apart and water has reached its cresting point in Clearwater.
"There was an 18-inch water surge that followed the jam," Moore said Saturday afternoon while monitoring the Highway 275 bridge between Neligh and Oakdale. "We can see ice chunks going through occasionally and the river has risen a bit, but it looks like the jam has made it safely through."
Moore said Clearwater and other places downstream along the river will see water receding soon.
There's good news and bad news for Antelope County residents, according to Antelope County Emergency Manager Bob Moore.
The Elkhorn River ice jam between Clearwater and Neligh has broken apart, but the bad news is the rural roads are still dangerous and the travel ban remains in place.
The roads remain a concern, though. Moore commended the Antelope County workers for their effort and long hours as they assess the roads and try to make them safe again. But at this time, Moore said, rural roads have not been deemed safe.
"There's still water over a lot of roads," Moore said. "We have roads with 18 feet craters; roads with bridge approaches gone. County roads are still not safe to be traveled at this time."
A Nebraska Department of Transportation worker was injured Friday afternoon after an oncoming vehicle hydroplaned on Highway 14 about 6 1/2 miles north of Neligh.
According to Ray Branstiter, NDOT District 3 operations and maintenance manager, a NDOT worker was flagging traffic where flood water was over Highway 14 when a northbound pickup hydroplaned. Branstiter said the worker tried to get into the NDOT pickup next to him for safety as the vehicle hydroplaned toward him. The oncoming pickup struck the NDOT vehicle and injured the worker.
"Our workers are out there trying to protect the public. That's our job," Branstiter said. "But we need the public to please be aware of our workers and to not put them at greater risk."
Branstiter said this was the second worker injured this year by other drivers.
Branstiter said his worker was transported by Neligh Rescue to Antelope Memorial Hospital with non-life threatening injuries. His name has not been released at this time.
The driver of the vehicle that struck the NDOT pickup has also not been identified. She was not transported by ambulance.
The accident remains under investigation. The Neligh Fire Department, Antelope County Sheriff's Department, Neligh Police Department and Neligh Rescue all responded.
An ice jam on the Elkhorn River between Clearwater and Neligh still has water backed up. Although the river is going down throughout Antelope County, it's moving slowly through the ice between Clearwater and the jam.
This jam is located east of the 519 Bridge (south of the Royal Road) and the Singing Bridge. Ice is collecting where the old railroad bridge is broken. This bridge has not been in use for years.
Water remains over Highway 275 in several places with one lane of traffic as cars drive through. Residents are asked not to travel on rural roads until the county can assess them. The Oakdale cut across is currently closed due to structural deficiencies.
All highways across Antelope County are open, but drivers will encounter one-lane traffic in places due to water. According to Antelope County Sheriff Bob Moore, there are workers on site flagging traffic for safety.
Moore said rural travel is still not advised at this time throughout the county with not timeline for when it will be lifted.
"We still are asking that there be no travel on the rural roads," Moore said. "Many of the roads have washouts that may not be visible until it's too late. People need to stay off the roads until we have assessed them."
Nebraska Public Power District’s Cooper Nuclear Station, an electric power plant in southeast Nebraska, declared a “Notification of Unusual Event” at 5:46 a.m. Friday, when the Missouri River reached 899.05 feet at the plant. The declaration was anticipated for several days by the power plant’s operators, who closely tracked the river’s steady increase in elevation due to the combination of snow melt, frozen ground, heavy rain conditions in Nebraska , and releases of water from upstream reservoirs in South Dakota.
The notification was made as part of a safety and emergency preparedness plan the station follows when flooding conditions are in effect. The plan’s procedures dictate when the Missouri River’s water level reaches 42.5 feet, or greater than 899 mean sea level, a notification of unusual event is declared. Plant personnel regularly monitor the river levels.
There is no threat to plant employees or to the public; the plant continues to operate safely. Appropriate local, county, state, and federal agencies were also notified.
Site personnel had been monitoring the river’s water levels as part of normal operations and began additional preparations in anticipation of higher volumes of water earlier in the week. Personnel have been proactive in preparing the station for flood conditions by filling sandbags that were placed along the river levee and procuring materials and supplies for flood protection.
Should the river’s level increase to 900 feet above sea level, plant personnel will also barricade internal doorways as another layer of protection for facility equipment. If the river’s level increases to 45 feet or 901.5 feet above sea level, plant operators would take the station offline as a protective safety measure. The plant was built at 903 feet above sea level, which is 13 feet above natural grade.
A Notification of Unusual Event is the lowest and least serious of four emergency classifications established by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for nuclear power plants. If placed on a scale of 1 to 4, with 1 being the least serious level of an emergency and 4 being the most serious level of an emergency, a “Notification of Unusual Event” would equal a 1.
Cooper Nuclear Station is located three miles southeast of Brownville, Nebraska, near the Missouri River. It is owned and operated by the Nebraska Public Power District, with headquarters in Columbus, Nebraska.