But the river surged quickly to flood levels near Big Springs, Neb., Wednesday morning.
The mostly dry river channel that runs along Interstate 76 and Interstate 80 is expected to overflow as floodwaters move east.
It’s not clear if the drought conditions surrounding the river will help absorb much of the floodwater.
The National Weather Service predicts the South Platte will rise quickly.
For instance, the river measured 1.6 feet deep near Roscoe Wednesday morning. By Thursday afternoon, it’s expected to reach 12.5 feet deep — shattering the old record of 11.3 feet.
At North Platte, the river is expected to rise from the current 5.3 feet to 13.9 feet on Saturday.