Record Flooding Along South Platte and Platte Rivers 


Colorado Rainfall     South Platte Basin and Colorado Flooding

Nebraska Flooding     Hydrographs     Nebraska Flooding Pictures

Videos


Historical rains fell across the front range of the Colorado Rocky Mountains September 9-15th, 2013.  These rains, which totaled over the yearly average across portions of this area fell at rates of over 2 inches per hour at times which caused drastic flash flooding and river flooding.  Total values through the seven days amounted up to 17 inches where the heaviest amounts were measured.  These extreme amounts were more localized, however a large part of the area received greater than 8 inches in these seven days.  See graphics below, courtesy of NWS Boulder.

Colorado Rainfall Totals

For more information on the events that lead to the record river flooding across Nebraska see the following link from Climate.gov - Historic Rainfall and Floods across Colorado

The NWS Boulder has a full write up on the meteorological scenario that caused the flooding. 

The heavy rains largely fell in the South Platte River Basin (see graphic below), therefore these extreme amounts of water were routed downstream through the South Platte and Platte River systems through the following weeks. 

Across Colorado, the extreme amounts of water caused historic flooding along the South Platte River and its tributaries.  Many towns and lands along the river were inundated with water which caused great amounts of damage to infrastructure, farmland, and personal property.

South Platte River Basin

The South Platte River Basin. 
Graphic courtesy of the USGS national Atlas Streamer.

  
Colorado Flood Pictures

 

 South Platte River Flooding at Interstate 76 Exit 82 - Fort Morgan, CO

 

 South Platte River at Rainbow Bridge on Highway 52 - Fort Morgan, CO

 

   

 South Platte River Flooding at Sterling, CO(photo courtesy of Bruce Finley)

 

South Platte River Flooding at Crook, CO

 

 What happened in Nebraska...

The flood waters began to move through the South Platte River into Nebraska on Tuesday, September 17th, with significant rises beginning across Deuel County on the 18th.  Rises continued downstream through the next week, as the river gage at Roscoe, in central Keith County rose above flood stage the 19th and at the river gage at North Platte in the early morning hours of the 21st.  The flood waters then entered into the main stem of the Platte river just east of North Platte and continued downstream.  Flooding occurred along the Platte River across eastern Lincoln county, with the river gage at Brady rising above flood stage the afternoon of the 21st.  Rises of up to a foot an hour were observed as the flood waters moved through the river channel.  Flooding continued along all portions of these two rivers for roughly a week, while elevated flows continued through the first part of October due the great amounts of water to move through the river system. 

In the graphs below, the yellow line is three-quarters bankfull, the orange line is minor flood stage, red is moderate flood stage, and purple is major flood stage.

South Platte River at Roscoe
  • Flood stage is 7.5 feet
  • Rose above flood stage at 1030 am MDT Thursday, September 19th
  • Preliminary crest 12.2 feet at 1215 am MDT Friday, September 20th
  • Fell below flood stage at 830 pm MDT Friday, September 27th

The previous record was 11.29 feet 6/6/1995

South Platte River at North Platte
  • Flood stage is 13.0 feet
  • Rose above flood stage at 530 am CDT on Saturday, September 21st
  • Preliminary crest at 14.4 feet at 100 am CDT on Monday, September 23rd 
  • Fell below flood stage at 1200 pm CDT on Tuesday, September 24th 

 Previous record was 14.02 feet on 6/3/1935

Platte River at Brady - North Channel
Brady Hydrograph
  • Flood stage is 9.0 feet
  • Rose above flood stage 500 pm CDT Saturday, September 21st 
  • Preliminary crest 9.8 feet around noon CDT Monday, September 23rd*
  • Fell below flood stage at 700 am CDT Tuesday, October 1st

The previous record was 9.6 feet on 5/14/1973

*The graph above shows the gage height higher than what is listed as the preliminary crest above.  The Nebraska DNR (owners of the gage) have adjusted the gage height due to official surveys.

Continue to check back as more pictures of the flooding will be added to this page.

Before and During the Flood

I76 Bridge in Deuel County

Big Springs

Brule

Ogallala

Roscoe

North Platte - Highway 83 Bridge

North Platte - Newberry Access Bridge

Brady

Videos 

North Platte River Gage

Highway 83 Bridge - North Platte

 

Questions or Comments

If you have questions or comments about the flooding along the South Platte and Platte Rivers please contact:

Jessica Brooks
Hydrologic Program Leader
National Weather Service
5250 E. Lee Bird Drive
North Platte, NE 69101
308-532-4936
Email: jessica.brooks@noaa.gov


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