Omaha river level

Omaha river level DEFAULT
If you notice any errors in the below information, please contact our Webmaster40At this level the water nears the top of the federal levee.36Water reaches the bottom of flood wall just north of Interstate 480. Low lying roads are also affected just east of Riverfront Drive north of the pedestrian bridge.32.5Floodwaters are reaching areas near Council Bluffs, specifically near Interstate 29, miler marker 56.30.5Floodwaters are impacting Interstate 29/680 near Crescent and northward to exit 71 near Loveland.29At this level water nears the base of the Council Bluffs levee. Significant lowland flooding occurs in NP Dodge Park, Freedom Park, Tom Hanafan Park, Fontenelle Forest and Haworth Park.28At this level most of the flood gates for the city of Council Bluffs are closed. 27Freedom Park, Tom Hanafan Park and Fontenelle Forest begin to flood.25NP Dodge Park in north Omaha is flooding and will be closed. A casino parking lot begins to flood along the Iowa side of the river. In addition, Haworth Park located in Bellevue begins to flood.21At this level the City of Council Bluffs begins closing flood gates.19At this level, the City of Council Bluffs begins to close drainage gates that discharge into the river.Photos
(1) Looking upstream near gage site
(2) Looking downstream from pedestrian bridge

LOCATION.--Lat 41°15'32", long 95°55'20" referenced to North American Datum of 1927, in SE 1/4 NW 1/4 sec.23, T.15 N., R.13 E., Douglas County, NE, Hydrologic Unit 10230006, on right bank on right side of concrete floodwall at foot of Douglas Street, 275 ft downstream from bridge on U.S. Interstate 480 in Omaha, and 615.9 mi upstream from mouth. Water-quality samples collected by boat, 8.5 mi downstream from gage. (map)

DRAINAGE AREA.--322,800 mi2.


PERIOD OF RECORD.--Discharge records from September 1928 to current year. Stage-only records from April 1872 to December 1899 in reports of the Missouri River Commission, and since January 1875 in reports of the U.S. National Weather Service.

REVISED RECORDS.--WSP 761: Drainage area.

GAGE.--Water-stage recorder. Datum of gage is 948.97 ft above North American Vertical Datum of 1988. Prior to August 1, 2016, datum of gage was 948.24 ft above National Geodetic Vertical Datum of 1929. April 10, 1872, to February 28, 1907, non-recording gage at several sites within 0.6 mi of current site at datum 9.57 ft higher than current datum; March 1, 1907 to August 31, 1928, non-recording gage at Douglas Street bridge 10.00 ft higher than current datum. September 1, 1928, to November 30, 1929, non-recording gage attached to Illinois Central Railroad bridge at site 2.0 mi upstream at datum 12.97 ft higher; December 1, 1929, to October 18, 1931, non-recording gage at Douglas Street bridge at datum 10.00 ft higher; October 19, 1931, to September 30, 1936, water-stage recorder at site 0.4 mi downstream at datum 10.00 ft higher; October 1, 1936, to September 30, 1982, at Douglas Street bridge at datum 10.00 ft higher; October 1, 1982, to September 26, 2005, at Douglas Street bridge at same datum as current datum; September 27, 2005, to July 31, 2016, at site 150 ft upstream of Douglas Street bridge and same datum.

REMARKS.--Flow regulated by upstream main-stem reservoirs. Fort Randall Dam was completed in July 1952, with storage beginning in December 1952. Gavins Point Dam was completed in July 1955, with storage beginning in December 1955.


PERIOD OF RECORD.--Water years 1969-1976, 1978 to current year.

SPECIFIC CONDUCTANCE: Daily instantaneous values collected in conjunction with suspended-sediment samples, October 1972 to September 1976, January 1978 to September 1981, October 1991 to September 2003, October 2008 to September 2010, records fragmentary for some periods. Beginning in October 2010, daily instantaneous values published in combined water-quality table.
WATER TEMPERATURE: Daily instantaneous values collected in conjunction with suspended-sediment samples, October 1971 to September 1976, January 1978 to September 1981, October 1991 to September 2003, October 2008 to September 2010, records fragmentary for some periods. Beginning in October 2010, daily instantaneous values published in combined water-quality table. Daily mean, October 2011 to current year.
SUSPENDED-SEDIMENT CONCENTRATION AND DISCHARGE: April 1939 to December 1959, April to November 1960, April to November 1961, March to November 1962, March to October 1963, April to October 1964, April to December 1965, February 1966 to January 1967, March to December 1967, April to December 1968, March 1969 to September 1971, October 1971 to September 1976, October 1991 to September 2003, October 2008 to current year. Prior to October 1971, suspended-sediment discharge records only, provided by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.


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Latitude: 41.293292° N, Longitude: 96.283938° W, Horizontal Datum: NAD83/WGS84

River Stage
Reference Frame
Gauge HeightFlood StageUses
NWS stage 0 ft 14 ft Interpreting hydrographs and NWS watch, warnings, and forecasts, and inundation maps
Vertical DatumElevation
(gauge height = 0)
(gauge height = flood stage)
Elevation information source
NAVD881105.19 ft1119.19 ft Survey grade GPS equipment, FEMA flood plain maps, newer USGS topographic maps
NGVD 29Not AvailableNot Available Older USGS topographic maps, NGVD29 benchmarks
MSLNot AvailableNot Available Older USGS topographic maps, MSL benchmarks
OtherNot AvailableNot Available  

Current/Historical Observations:


OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - As we inch toward spring while in the midst of a record-cold snap, some may have flashbacks to this season in 2019. We’re once again experiencing frigid temperatures with several inches of snow on the ground. Will these conditions cause flooding concerns in the near future?


A “perfect storm” of weather conditions led to catastrophic flooding beginning mid-March of 2019. Omaha Eppley Airfield picked up 27 inches of snowfall throughout February – a new record for the month! For the entire 2018-19 season, Omaha recorded 52.7 inches of snowfall, marking the 7th snowiest season on record.

Weather conditions that contributed to the Heartland Flood

In addition to the high amounts of snowfall, temperatures were frigid, with Omaha experiencing the coldest February in 30 years.

During the second full week of March, a storm system brought 1 to 3 inches of rainfall to the Heartland. This rain fell on top of ground that was covered with 16 inches of snow, and had a frost depth of 1 to 2 feet!

Temperatures quickly warmed into the 50s and 60s, rapidly melting the snow. Since the ground was frozen, the inches of rain and inches of snowmelt couldn’t seep into the ground. Instead, the high amounts of water caused rapid river rises.


This past week, we have shattered daily records and have experienced some of the coldest temperatures in decades. As of February 17th, Omaha Eppley Airfield has picked up 9.7 inches of snow during the month of February and 40.2 inches for the season-to-date. The current snow depth is 7 inches.

Compared to 2019, our frost depth is much shallower -- at just 4 to 9 inches across Nebraska and western Iowa. In this year’s case, our snow cover has acted like a blanket in keeping the ground warmer!

Normal risk for spring flooding

2020 was the third DRIEST year on record for Omaha, with much of the Missouri River basin still facing moderate to severe drought conditions into 2021. It should be noted the level of the Missouri River is VERY LOW. In Omaha, the Missouri River is at 10.2 feet, with flood stage beginning at 27 feet.

Most of the Missouri River Basin is dealing with moderate to extreme drought

Though we do have pockets of heavy snow cover in Nebraska, the overall snowpack across the Plains and mountains is below-normal. Much of the Dakotas have little to no snow cover as of Feb 18th. Soil moisture is also below-normal.

Missouri Basin Snow Depth

With all of these conditions in mind, the National Weather Service characterizes our flood risk for the spring as “normal”. High temperatures next week will warm into the 40s, with generally dry conditions on tap, aiding in a gradual melt and thaw.

Trending warmer than average
Trending drier than average


Though the overall flood risk is NOT elevated, there is an above-normal risk for ice jam flooding – especially along the Platte River, downstream of Columbus. The recent drastic cold snap has contributed to an increase in ice thickness in many areas. Once we begin to warm and melt, those who live along the Platte should remain alert for rapid rises.

Ice jam flooding

Since we’ve already seen ice jam flooding around Fremont this winter, more issues in the future weeks and months are likely.

Higher-than-normal risk for ice jam flooding


As always, this is a fluid and evolving forecast! The next flood outlook from the National Weather Service is scheduled for February 25th. We’ll continue to bring you developments as necessary. In the meantime, you can read the entire current outlook from the NWS here.

Keep track of alerts and forecasts by downloading the WOWT First Alert Weather App:

Copyright 2021 WOWT. All rights reserved.


River level omaha

Current Missouri River level at Omaha

Last year, we were dealing with historic flooding on the Missouri River and several other local rivers. So far this year, we’re dealing with many other issues, but thankfully additional flooding isn’t one of them. In fact, the Missouri River is running at fairly “normal” levels in Omaha right now, but let’s do a quick recap of some historic highs and lows.

Right now, the Missouri River level in Omaha is near 18 feet. This is close to its average seasonal level. In fact, it’s less than five percent below the seasonal level.

River Level.JPG


After last year, a river level of nearly 18 feet might seem low. Which is understandable when just last year we added two historic crest levels to the “Top 5” here in Omaha. The first historic crest in 2019 happened on March 17th and the second on June 5th.

For reference, the highest crest was 40.40 feet on April 18th, 1952 and the lowest river level was 6.85 feet on February 5th, 1989. In Omaha, the Missouri River reaches flood stage at 27 feet and enters low stage at 10 feet. So, in the grand scheme of everything, a level of 18 feet is fairly average.

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