August 8th 2021 – Storm Flooding Downtown Omaha
Heavy rains drenched eastern Nebraska on Saturday night, which caused flash flooding in Omaha. This torrential rain flooded businesses, left people across the city without power, and stranded drivers.
Severe thunderstorms were accompanied by quarter-sized hail and 60 mph winds. The Omaha World-Herald reported that water rushed through the streets, destroying roads and leaving drivers stranded. Firefighters received multiple calls from drivers stuck two to four feet of floodwater.
More than 18,000 residents across the city were left without power. The Omaha Public Power District revealed that employees toiled through the night to restore electricity. But even so, 165 customers did not receive power until Sunday evening.
The National Weather Service states that various parts of Omaha experienced rainwater up to 3 inches high. But other areas received double the amount of rain. While the severe weather storm has passed, officials are advising residents to stay off the roads. Below is a closer look at Saturday night’s storm in downtown Omaha:
What Happened on Saturday Night?
On Saturday evening, Omaha experienced torrential rain, hail, and wind, which activated a rare Flash Flood Emergency across Omaha. The flooded water left drivers stranded and knee-deep in water, stuck in elevators, and without power. Within seconds, residents were posting videos of the flooding on various social media platforms.
At 10 pm the Omaha Power District reported that more than 18,000 customers had no power in Saunders, Douglas, and Saunders counties. By Sunday morning, the number of power outages dropped down to less than 2,100.
Mid-American Energy revealed that by 11 pm on Saturday in Pottawattamie and Mills counties, at least 1,400 people were without power. Luckily, all power was restored by Sunday morning.
By 10:15 pm, the National Weather Service reported that six-stranded drivers had been rescued in southeast Omaha. Several videos and reports said that cars were either floating or stranded near 11th and Leavenworth.
Law enforcement ended up shutting down a lane of Interstate 480 near Creighton University to avoid the flood from causing further damage. In Omaha’s Old Market, the flood swept across Jones Streets and Leavenworth, destroying vehicles and streets alike.
In addition, seven people got out safe after floodwaters trapped them in elevators of various buildings’ basements. This incident occurred in the Old Market Loft apartments, 1011 Jones St. One of the people who were trapped in the elevator said, “I wouldn’t have stepped in the elevator if I had known. Now I try to be more cautious.”
The Bottom Line- What was the Aftermath of the Flooding?
After the flood, streets across downtown and eastside Omaha were destroyed. Mud completely covered 13th street, as well as Leavenworth Street. Meanwhile, the tops of cars were covered with debris and gravel.
The Omaha Police Department warned residents of debris, missing manhole covers, and still water. Luckily, no deaths or significant injuries were reported due to the flood.
As of now, the rains have stopped, and the skies have cleared. However, the city possibly does not have enough time to recover before the next storm hits.