Parts of Buffalo, Phelps and Franklin Counties in central Nebraska reported flash flooding Tuesday morning as lines of thunderstorms dumped as much as 9 inches of rain.
"We had a couple rounds of thunderstorms roll through last night leaving 6 to 9 inches of rain in the area," said Aaron Mangels, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Hastings. "It's an incredible amount of rain on ground that is already saturated."
Motorists are advised not to travel U.S. Highway 30 due to flooding. A post on the Kearney Volunteer Fire Department's Facebook page said residents should stay off area roads.
"You cannot get from Kearney to Elm Creek on (Highway 30)," Mangels said. Kearney first responders, he said, have been making "a lot of rescues from cars and some homes."
Floodwaters on 30th Avenue next to Kearney High School reportedly were knee deep. An estimated 50 people were stuck in their homes in the area due to flooding, according to the Kearney Police Department.
Kearney Police Chief Bryan Waugh tweeted Tuesday that his officers helped with at least 25 stranded motorists overnight, towing 15 vehicles that were abandoned or stalled on flooded streets. "For your safety and the safety of First Responders, please avoid flooded areas or temptations to drive by," he wrote.
Several rivers in the area are expected to overflow their banks, Mangels said. Flooding is expected along the Platte and Blue Rivers as well as the Wood River.
"The Wood River could be nearly as high, if not as high, as the flooding in March," Mangels said. "The Republican River is also rising, with flooding possible near Cambridge, Guide Rock and Superior."
More rain is forecast in the area Tuesday night, Mangels said. The forecast for Wednesday and Thursday, however, calls for mostly dry conditions.
"The forecast is drier for five to seven days," he said. "Hopefully, that will be the case."