Flooding Forces Hundreds From Their Homes in Nebraska

by The Associated, Press

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March 17, 2019, 5:46 p.m.

Severe flooding across central and eastern Nebraska has forced evacuations leaving more than 600 people in shelters. Rivers could still crest in certain areas in the next few days.

NET News Senior Producer/Reporter Bill Kelly talks with NET News Director Dennis Kellogg about the flooding situation in central Nebraska including in the town of St. Edward Sunday. Click the Listen to this story arrow above to hear their conversation.

The Missouri River flooded Offutt Air Force Base, with about one-third of it under water on Sunday. Spokeswoman Tech. Sgt. Rachelle Blake told the Omaha World-Herald that 60 buildings, mostly on the south end of the base, have been damaged, including about 30 completely inundated with as much as 8 feet (2.4 meters) of water.

Hundreds of people remained out of their homes in Nebraska, where floodwaters reached record levels at 17 locations. The Nebraska Emergency Management Agency highlighted some remarkably high crests. The Missouri River was expected to reach 41 feet (12.5 meters) in Plattsmouth on Sunday — 4 feet (1.22 meters) above the record set in 2011. The Elkhorn River got to 24.6 feet (7.5 meters) Saturday in Waterloo, breaking the 1962 record by 5 1/2 feet (1.68 meters).

In hard-hit Sarpy County, Nebraska, up to 500 homes have been damaged, including some cabins along a lake, said Greg London of the Sarpy County Sheriff's Office. The damage followed breaches of levees along the Platte River on Thursday and Saturday, and a Missouri River levee break on Thursday. The two rivers converge there.

Missouri RIver flooding has impacted many communities in eastern Nebraska and western Iowa. (Photo by Bill Anderson, NET)

London said many of the damaged homes are wet up to the roof line and likely ruined.

"This area's had flooding before but not of this magnitude," London said. "This is unprecedented."

Nearly 300 people have been rescued from high water across the state.

At least two people have died in the floodwaters. Aleido Rojas Galan, 52, of Norfolk, Nebraska, was swept away Friday night in southwestern Iowa, when the vehicle he was in went around a barricade. Two others in the vehicle survived — one by clinging to a tree. On Thursday, Columbus, Nebraska, farmer James Wilke, 50, died when a bridge collapsed as he used a tractor to try and reach stranded motorists.

Two men remain missing. A Norfolk man was seen on top of his flooded car late Thursday before being swept away. Water also swept away a man after a dam collapse.