As the excitement builds for the College World Series this weekend, Mother Nature is also causing some anxiousness in Omaha as the Missouri River continues to rise.

The rising waters are currently above flood stage at 32.78 feet in Omaha, which has caused concerns in relation to the CWS because the new home of the event – TD Ameritrade Park – is just blocks from the Missouri River. 

We trust the city. They first and foremost have the safety of their citizens to take care of … they’re doing all that, and taking care of the property around the river.
-- Dennis Poppe, NCAA vice president for football and baseball

The city of Omaha and CWS officials are hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst as the championship begins on June 18. 

“We’ve been in constant contact with MECA, the management group for the stadium, and they have in turn been in contact with the city and the (U.S. Army) Corps of Engineers, who monitor the situation,” said Dennis Poppe, NCAA vice president of football and baseball. “We have plans in place to address whatever it is. It’s hard to predict obviously what Mother Nature might do, but yet we have plans in place to address whatever might happen. We’re waiting to see what the situation might provide, and once we know what that situation is, we’ll act accordingly.”

While the stadium should not have flooding issues, the focus has been in the surrounding areas, such as parking lots and nearby businesses.

“We’ve concentrated on the drainage and sewers to make sure if they get overloaded we have ways to address that and relieve the pressure on the system,” Poppe said.

Extra pumping systems have been brought in to address the possible issue, and city officials will continue to watch the river closely and meet daily to ensure Omaha’s citizens are safe and the city’s signature sporting event runs smoothly.

“They’ve got pumping systems all over,” said Aida Aumora, communications director for Omaha Mayor Jim Suttle. “The concern really is the parking lots, not the field itself. There’s not a single person in this town that’s not working to make sure this event takes place if it can.” 

“We trust the city,” Poppe said. “They first and foremost have the safety of their citizens to take care of … they’re doing all that, and taking care of the property around the river.”

Omaha and NCAA officials are encouraging fans to continue with their plans of coming to the College World Series this weekend, and will monitor the progress of the river and possible flooding.  If the situation changes, news and social media outlets will be notified with status updates.

For the most current information on the Missouri River, and the surrounding area, check out http://www.omahaflood.org.