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Three dead, one missing in devastating floods across U.S. Midwest

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Three dead, one missing in devastating floods across U.S. Midwest

 

2019-03-19T010613Z_2_LYNXNPEF2H1ZD_RTROPTP_4_USA-WEATHER.JPG

Lanni Bailey and a team from Muddy Paws Second Chance Rescue enter a flooded house to pull out several cats during the flooding of the Missouri River near Glenwood, Iowa, U.S. March 18, 2019. Passport Aerial Photography/Handout via REUTERS

 

(Reuters) - At least one person was missing on Monday after devastating floods across the U.S. Midwest that killed three others and inflicted hundreds of millions of dollars in damage in what Nebraska's governor called a disaster of historic proportions.

 

As floodwaters began to recede in much of the area inundated by the aftermath of a storm dubbed a "bomb cyclone," Nebraska officials were taking in the damage in a state where 64 of the 93 counties have declared emergencies.

 

"This is clearly the most widespread disaster we have had in our state's history," in terms of sheer size, Governor Pete Ricketts told reporters on an afternoon briefing call.

 

State officials said on the call that 290 people had been rescued by the Nebraska State Patrol, National Guard troops, and urban search and rescue teams.

 

Damage to the state's livestock sector was estimated at about $400 million, while the full impact on the spring planting season was not yet clear, said Steve Wellman, director of the Nebraska Department of Agriculture.

 

The state's highway system suffered hundreds of millions of dollars in damage, said Kyle Schneweis, director of the state Department of Transportation, with more than 200 miles of roadways needing repair or replacement. Some 540 miles of highways remained closed, he said, down from 1,500 at the peak of flooding.

 

The three known fatalities included an 80-year-old woman who perished at her Columbus, Nebraska, home, despite attempts to rescue her from rising floodwaters, said Colonel John Bolduc of the Nebraska State Patrol.

 

Bolduc said a young man from Norfolk, Nebraska, was swept away and killed after driving his car into moving water, and a Columbus man died when the tractor he was using to help free a stranded driver overturned.

 

One person was missing and presumed dead following the collapse of the Spencer Dam along Niobrara River in southwest Nebraska, Buldoc said.

 

VICE PRESIDENT TO VISIT

The Missouri River, the longest in North America, has flooded much of Nebraska between Omaha and Kansas City at the Missouri state line.

 

The river was expected to crest at 47.5 feet (14.48 m) on Tuesday, breaking the previous record, set in 2011, by more than a foot, the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency said in the latest bulletin on its web page.

 

Ricketts said he had requested emergency assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and been in contact with the Trump administration.

 

Vice President Mike Pence would travel to Nebraska on Tuesday to survey the damage, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said on Twitter. Ricketts and Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds have both declared states of emergency.

 

The Missouri River's overflowing banks cut off roads leading to the Cooper nuclear plant, near Brownville, Nebraska, forcing operators to fly in staff and supplies by helicopter. The plant continued to operate safely, its operator said.

 

Water also covered one-third of that state's Offutt Air Force Base, near Bellevue, home to the U.S. Strategic Command.

 

At least 30 buildings were flooded by up to eight feet of water and 30 more structures damaged on the base, the Omaha World-Herald reported, citing a base spokeswoman.

 

The National Weather Service reported some of the region's larger rivers were running at record high levels, causing levee breaks. Some small towns and communities have been cut off by floods while others were short of fresh drinking water.

 

Streets in Lincoln, Nebraska's capital, were barely visible as high water surrounded homes, cars and trees, according to photos released to Reuters by state authorities. Elsewhere in the state, one highway near Waterloo was submerged, and piles of debris and damaged roads were visible in Niobrara.

 

Floodwater climbed up the sides of buildings at Camp Ashland, an Army National Guard facility in Ashland, Nebraska.

 

Warmer temperatures will speed the pace of snow melt across the region and add to already swollen rivers, the NWS said, possibly forcing more evacuations in communities along the Missouri River on the Nebraska and Iowa border, as well as along the Elkhorn and Platte rivers in Nebraska.

 

"There could be issues across portions of Nebraska and Kansas for the next seven days," NWS meteorologist Jim Hayes said.

 

(Reporting by Gina Cherelus in New York, Rich McKay in Atlanta and Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles; Writing by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Bill Tarrant and Leslie Adler)

 

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-- © Copyright Reuters 2019-03-19

 

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2 hours ago, lannarebirth said:

I am not a climate change denier, but these weather people have gotten a little ridiculous with their naming of winter storms. Polar vortexs and bomb cyclones are just hyberbole as far as I'm concerned. There have been some wicked winter storms/blizzards throughout the Mid-West and North East as long as I've been alive and long before too. Flooding also. 10's of millions of Americans live in flood plains and when inclement weather strikes they are vulnerable and at risk of loss. I am one of them and it is a risk I accept and attempt to mitigate but it's still there lurking and always has been since humans moved to areas that they probably shouldn't.

I think the situation has been getting worse.   The storms are bigger and more frequent.   I have family who live along the Missouri River.   They live on what is considered to be a once in 500 year flood plain area.   They have been flooded twice in the last decade.   I suspect they will get flooded again.   

 

In the past few years, we've seen some of the worst hurricanes on record, new records set for rainfall (Texas -- 50+ inches I believe).   We've seen record droughts, followed by near record rains.   

 

A little bit too much too close together in time.

 

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7 hours ago, lannarebirth said:

I am not a climate change denier, but these weather people have gotten a little ridiculous with their naming of winter storms. Polar vortexs and bomb cyclones are just hyberbole as far as I'm concerned. There have been some wicked winter storms/blizzards throughout the Mid-West and North East as long as I've been alive and long before too. Flooding also. 10's of millions of Americans live in flood plains and when inclement weather strikes they are vulnerable and at risk of loss. I am one of them and it is a risk I accept and attempt to mitigate but it's still there lurking and always has been since humans moved to areas that they probably shouldn't.

Polar Vortex and Bomb Cyclones are actually meteorological terms for the climatic event. 

 

I just lived through the last one here in South Dakota, and it was impressive! 

 

We live in Western South Dakota, tucked into the Black Hills so we don't anything like the extreme they get east of the Missouri.

 

Got a friend in Minneapolis....now that was extreme!

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Explosive_cyclogenesis

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If you build on flood plains, expect flooding and build on stilts. 

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5 hours ago, Ulic said:

If you build on flood plains, expect flooding and build on stilts. 

Much of the destruction is occurring in areas that aren't considered to be flood plains.   As far as stilts go, that doesn't work.   Those floods are accompanied by ice jams and slabs of ice the size of a car aren't unusual and when they hit a building, they can do a bit of damage.   Structures on stilts would likely be knocked over easily and quickly.   

 

Back in the 60's and 70's the Corp of Engineers along with state and Federal gov't moved a lot of towns and settlements out of the flood danger zone.   Entire towns were moved.   A few brave, or foolish, souls wouldn't move, but they were relegated to a life without electricity or roads, since public utilities would not be repaired or maintained.   

 

It is now apparent the flood plain has extended much further than anyone anticipated.   

 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Credo said:

Much of the destruction is occurring in areas that aren't considered to be flood plains.   As far as stilts go, that doesn't work.   Those floods are accompanied by ice jams and slabs of ice the size of a car aren't unusual and when they hit a building, they can do a bit of damage.   Structures on stilts would likely be knocked over easily and quickly.   

 

Back in the 60's and 70's the Corp of Engineers along with state and Federal gov't moved a lot of towns and settlements out of the flood danger zone.   Entire towns were moved.   A few brave, or foolish, souls wouldn't move, but they were relegated to a life without electricity or roads, since public utilities would not be repaired or maintained.   

 

It is now apparent the flood plain has extended much further than anyone anticipated.   

 

 

Over development has also contributed to flooding in areas that weren't natural waterways. Deforestation of hillsides, filling of natural drainages, etc. The point being areas formerly that absorbed precipitation are now sources of water runoff.

 

It works the other way too. My community which endured a flood in some areas back in 1997 has had it's FEMA waterway datum dropped by 2 feet since then due to the introduction of new bridges with no center support structure that debris would catch on causing water backups and diversions.  Good infrastructure is key to mitigating the effects of flooding. And by infrastucture I don't necessarily mean levees. If you need levees you already know you've got a problem. That's not to say existing levees shouldn't be maintained.

Edited by lannarebirth
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18 hours ago, Credo said:

I think the situation has been getting worse.   The storms are bigger and more frequent.   I have family who live along the Missouri River.   They live on what is considered to be a once in 500 year flood plain area.   They have been flooded twice in the last decade.   I suspect they will get flooded again.   

 

In the past few years, we've seen some of the worst hurricanes on record, new records set for rainfall (Texas -- 50+ inches I believe).   We've seen record droughts, followed by near record rains.   

 

A little bit too much too close together in time.

 

Just because someone says something will only happen every 500 years doesn't mean people shouldn't accept that it may happen more frequently. A flood plain is a flood plaid ALL the time.

This what happens when too many people are born, they end up living in places they shouldn't, because there isn't enough suitable land available.

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41 minutes ago, thaibeachlovers said:

Just because someone says something will only happen every 500 years doesn't mean people shouldn't accept that it may happen more frequently. A flood plain is a flood plaid ALL the time.

This what happens when too many people are born, they end up living in places they shouldn't, because there isn't enough suitable land available.

In the US there's an abundance of suitable land, but land that is coveted is at a premium. For me, every piece of land I own has a water feature, creek, river, lake, ocen, waterfall. I know there are risks associated with ownership of this kind of property but for me the tradeoff is worth it as long as Lloyds is willing to write the policy.

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41 minutes ago, lannarebirth said:

In the US there's an abundance of suitable land, but land that is coveted is at a premium. For me, every piece of land I own has a water feature, creek, river, lake, ocen, waterfall. I know there are risks associated with ownership of this kind of property but for me the tradeoff is worth it as long as Lloyds is willing to write the policy.

True.

However, sooner or later, insurance cover will cease to be available for risky areas.

In New Zealand, AMI and State insurance companies apparently no longer cover Wellington properties due to earthquake risk. Insurance is no longer guaranteed in at risk areas.

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7 minutes ago, thaibeachlovers said:

True.

However, sooner or later, insurance cover will cease to be available for risky areas.

In New Zealand, AMI and State insurance companies apparently no longer cover Wellington properties due to earthquake risk. Insurance is no longer guaranteed in at risk areas.

Eartquakes are not covered by normal homeowners policies. It is not even available as a rider. There are seperate Earthquake insurance policies available but they are really shitty. 10% deductible, high premium, not particularly high risk.

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