Four floods occurred in southeast Nebraska during the period of May to July 1950. Two of these were the greatest known in the State if the size of the drainage areas is considered, and the other two were not so spectacular but were of notable size and of possible hydrologic significance in their relation to the two major floods. Although property loss and damage have been exceeded in previous floods in Nebraska, notably in the flood of May-June 1935 on the Republican River, they were extremely high in the period covered by this report. Loss of life, which resulted largely from the rapid cresting of the streams, was likewise high.
Each of the floods was caused by heavy precipitation, which at times reached intensities seldom recorded in the Missouri River basin. On May 8, 1950, more than 14 inches of rain fell over certain areas of the Little Nemaha River basin within a period of a few hours. One center of the storm of July 8, 1950,occurred at York, Nebr., where 11 inches of rain was recorded within a 4-hour period, and the storm total exceeded 13 inches.
Notable high rates of discharge produced by the intense rainfall were 1,030 cfs per square mile from 218 square miles of drainage area in the Little Nemaha River basin on May 9, 1950; 1,020 cfs per square mile from 2.5 square miles drainage area in the Elkhorn River basin on June 2, 1950; and 3,320 cfs per square mile from 6.93 square miles of drainage area in the Big Blue River basin on July 9, 1950.
This report presents records of stage and discharge for the flood. periods at 36 stream-gaging stations in southeast Nebraska, and a summary of peak discharges, with comparative data for previously known floods at 45 measurement points. The report also includes a discussion of the weather associated with the floods and other data pertinent to the floods.