Monday, June 6, 2011

Anxious Anticipation

Major preparations are well on their way to being completed in North Platte in preparation for the expected flooding coming our way. Word has it that the Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District has delayed releasing water from Lake McConaughy until people are more prepared for it.

Below, a sign on the barricaded front door of Buffalo Bill Cody's mansion lets visitors know the attraction is closed for the foreseeable future. We're told that this "event" is predicted to continue for 45 days. Well into our summer tourist season, and enough to fry nerves as attraction directors, business people and residents "hurry up and wait" to prepare for the water.


This is a common sight anywhere north of the Union Pacific railroad tracks in North Platte. Homes and businesses surrounded by berms. Of course, in the coffee shops, coffee'ers are takin g a break from solving all of the worlds problems and turning their attention locally. Opinions from the second guessers range from "if they knew this was going to happen, they should have been letting more water out all along" - First of all, "they" were. The water has been high all winter. Second of all. If the snow had suddenly stopped in the Rockies mid-winter, there wouldn't have been enough water reserved for summer irrigation. We are dealing with the weather, you know - to "The city should have been maintaining those levees all along - Maybe... but how many would have been second-guessing all along saying "why are they spending that money? The river's never going to rise..." I think it's pretty safe to say everyone is getting worried, and nerves may be just a little on edge. Hundreds of volunteers showed to help the staff of the Buffalo Bill Ranch build the berms to protect these historical buildings, and the director there, as well as the curator of the Lincoln County Historical Museum have both expressed, many times, their appreciation for all of the willing hands. All across town, the "beep beep beep" of heavey equipment reversing is competing with the chirp of the birds as work continues on levees, which we really hope won't be needed. There's still a high level of denial that what they're telling us is really going to happen. It never has before, so surely we can't be facing a devastating flood now. Unfortunately, though I'm focusing on the images locally, North Platte isn't an isolated community in the state facing the prospect of floods. The Platte River valley from Scottsbluff to the Missouri River is going to be affected, and the Missouri river from Crofton all the way down to Rulo is threatening communities there. Here's hoping that they're in a frenzy of preparedness just like North Platte, that wise decisions are made and everyone pitches in... and that it all works out and saves their communities. In the mean time, life goes on. We're working on the first performance of our new summer music series here in North Platte, NRoute Entertainment Summer Music Series at the Fort Cody Trading Post, NEBRASKAland DAYS officials are spending sleepless nights as they try to predict whether or not the Wild West Arena is going to be under water for the celebration...


Such is life in North Platte right now. Thanks for stopping by. The coffee is always on.

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