Water from the Elkhorn River surged through Neligh and Norfolk Tuesday and threatened other towns and cities downstream.

"We have record flooding occurring on the upper Elkhorn around Neligh," said Van DeWald, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Valley.

Emergency officials are watching the Elkhorn River as floodwaters move downstream through Norfolk and into the Platte River above Ashland.

"Our primary flood concerns are in the Elkhorn and Platte river basins that's feeding into the Missouri," DeWald said.

The Elkhorn River at Neligh crested at 14.7 feet Monday afternoon, surpassing the previous record of 13.4 feet set in 1995.

At Norfolk, the Elkhorn River's flood stage was at 15 feet late Tuesday morning, he said, beating the previous record of 13.1 feet also set in 1995.

"These are levels we've never seen before," DeWald said.

Heavy rains in June, ranging from 9.4 inches in Rising City to 12.59 inches in Spalding, have flooded homes, washed out roads and bridges, and turned farm fields in low areas into swimming pools.

About 100 homes in Clearwater were damaged by flooding the last few days, the Associated Press reported. North Loup also was hit hard. Residents were evacuated Saturday after a dam on a lake gave way after 10 inches of rain fell in the area.

Faythe Peterson, emergency management director for the region that includes Antelope and Madison counties, said Tuesday officials had turned their attention to Norfolk, a city of about 30,000. She was hopeful the Elkhorn wouldn't lap into residential and business areas, because the river is flanked by a city park.

Flooding was reported along the Platte River, which reached a peak of 20.9 feet at Ashland Monday evening, DeWald said. That was shy of the record 23.1 feet set in 1997 due to an ice jam.

The Platte River at Louisville was at 9.7 feet Tuesday morning. Flood stage is 9 feet. Some minor flooding was occurring along the river in low-lying areas.

The National Weather Service expects the Platte River to slowly improve over the next several days.

"We're at our peak right now on the Platte," DeWald said.

The Missouri River downstream from Omaha was still rising Tuesday, DeWald said. Flood stage at Brownville is 32 feet and the weather service reported a flood stage of 40.5 feet Tuesday morning.

As of Tuesday morning, flood warnings were still in effect along the Elkhorn River, which flows through or near Neligh, Norfolk, Pilger, West Point, Pierce, Hooper and Waterloo.

The weather service urges motorists not to drive through areas where water covers the road because the depth may be too great for safe passage.

Reach Algis J. Laukaitis at 402-473-7243 or alaukaitis@journalstar.com.