A year ago, central Nebraska had a front row seat to drought. The Platte River ran dry. So what a difference this is, to not only see water flowing, but anticipate floodwaters from Colorado.
Grand Island/Hall County Emergency Management Director Jon Rosenlund said, "You will see full banks, see pastures filled with water, same pastures you see filled every two or three years."
But unlike Colorado, emergency officials say it won't be anything central Nebraska hasn't seen before.
Rosenlund said, "Most people in the city of Grand Island, it shouldn't impact them. Most people in the county won't see much impact either."
Still, some access roads could flood and Rosenlund reminds residents that even a small amount of water can be hazardous.
"The National Weather Service has a great motto," he said. "They say turn around, don't drown. Floodwater isn't a place to recreate. If you want to come and watch, do so from a safe distance, take some photos and remember this, but we certainly want people to be safe and prudent."
Floodwater may carry bacteria and toxic algae, according to reports from the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency.
The city of Grand Island draws its water from a well–field along the Platte. Those wells are above flood stage, and they continue to monitor them.
They encourage homeowners with wells near the river to do the same.
"Test your well after any type of flooding," Rosenlund said.
For this emergency manager with Colorado ties, it's a reminder to have a 72 hour emergency kit and evacuation plans, as he thinks of friends dealing with this on a much bigger scale.
He said, "I have very good friends in NE Colorado that experienced significant flooding and only now are getting their communities back in order."
Water is expected to reach flood stage at Kearney on Wednesday and Grand Island on Thursday.
Officials urge people to stay off the river and stay safe.
"Debris in the water is being monitored and removed from bridges as quickly as possible," said Earl Imler, response and recover manager at NEMA. "Every effort is being made to keep the water flowing in the river channels and prevent additional flooding."
The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality will be expanding its weekly sampling for bacteria.
Officials said there may be significantly higher levels of bacteria in floodwaters, both moving and standing, so state agencies ask people to avoid contact with floodwaters, including the waters that have been diverted into canals and reservoirs.
They say bacteria in the lake or river water can cause gastrointestinal problems (such as diarrhea) if swallowed. The state advises people to avoid contact with these waters. If you have been in contact with flood water, either flowing or standing, avoid touching your mouth and eyes, and wash off as soon as possible.
Well owners should take the following steps if they believe their well will be impacted: