Hastings Leaders Review Emergency Plans for Dam Near City

Hastings Leaders Review Emergency Plans for Dam Near City

Wednesday, March 3, 2021
HASTINGS, Neb. — Two years removed from Nebraska's devastating floods, Hastings leaders gather to look at the unique hazards in the community.

If the water surges, Ron Pughes wants to be ready. The Adams County emergency management director said if a flood project northwest of the city failed it could be deadly.

"People don't realize it and get swept off their feet in 30 degree water is quite the event you have to overcome," he said.

While Nebraskans may picture devastation like the Spencer dam in 2019, the state has nearly 3,000 dams that it tracks, both big and small.

Some of those are for irrigation or recreation and some are for power generation. The Hastings Northwest Flood Control Structure is near the airport and not far from homes and commercial development.

Jack Wergin of the Upper Big Blue NRD said, "Due to its location so close to town, it's considered a high hazard dam, high hazard has nothing to do with the condition of the dam, it has to do with the threat downstream of the dam."

Operated by the Upper Big Blue, Wergin said the dam is in good shape. Still he said it's important to run through disaster plans every five years to stay sharp.

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