In case you missed it: Pence assures Midwest flood victims as damage tops $1 billion; 50,000 visitors overtake California town to see vibrant superbloom

By Katy Galimberti, AccuWeather staff writer
March 24, 2019, 4:10:55 AM EDT


Severe flooding that has overwhelmed communities in the Midwestern United States over the past week continued to wreak havoc as water levels on the Missouri, Mississippi and other rivers continued to rise.

The disaster was set in motion during the second week of March, when a 'bomb cyclone' struck the region, dropping heavy rain and triggering massive snowmelt, which led to an excess of runoff into rivers and waterways.

The flooding has led to several deaths, the evacuation of an entire town in Missouri and over $1 billion in damage. Thousands have had to flee their homes.

(DroneBase via AP)

This Wednesday, March 20, 2019 aerial photo shows flooding near the Platte River in Plattsmouth, Neb., south of Omaha.

(DroneBase via AP)

This Wednesday, March 20, 2019 aerial photo shows flooding near the Platte River in Plattsmouth, Neb., south of Omaha.

(Twitter/Missouri State Highway Patrol)

Water Patrol Troopers assisting a utility company shutting off natural gas lines in flood waters at Craig, Missouri, on Wednesday, March 20.

(Twitter/Missouri State Highway Patrol)

Missouri 111 on the south side of Craig, Missouri, in Holt County. Water being held back by a man-made berm on Wednesday, March 20.

(Twitter/Missouri State Highway Patrol)

Water Patrol Troopers assisting residents of Watson, Missouri, as water comes over levees in the area on Monday, March 18.

(Facebook/Illinois Department of Transportation)

Flooding in Miller City, Illinois, on Tuesday, March 19.

(Facebook/Illinois Department of Transportation)

The Mississippi River is seen overtopping a levee in Miller City, Illinois, on Tuesday, March 19.

(Facebook/Illinois Department of Transportation)

Flooding in Gulfport, Illinois.

(Facebook/Illinois Department of Transportation)

Flooding in Barstow, Illinois.

(AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

Freedom Park, the naval museum featuring aircraft, the USS Marlin SST-2 Submarine and the USS Hazard AM-240 Minesweeper, is flooded by the waters of the Missouri River, in Omaha, Neb., Tuesday, March 19, 2019.

(Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management via AP)

This Monday, March 18, 2019 photo taken by the South Dakota Civil Air Patrol and provided by the Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, shows flooding along the Missouri River in rural Iowa north of Omaha, Neb.

(AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

A neighborhood in Bellevue, Neb., is flooded by waters from the Missouri River, Tuesday, March 19, 2019, with the flooded runway of Offutt AFB seen top left.

(Twitter/ VP Mike Pence)

Vice President Mike Pence touched down in Omaha, Nebraska to survey flood damage, and thank volunteers and emergency personnel.

(Twitter/ VP Mike Pence)

Vice President Mike Pence surveying flood damage in Omaha, Nebraska.

(Twitter/ VP Mike Pence)

Vice President Mike Pence surveying flood damage in Omaha, Nebraska.

(Twitter/ VP Mike Pence)

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence visits the relief shelter at Elkhorn Middle School in Elkhorn, Nebraska, on March 20, 2019.

(AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

Gabe Schmidt, owner of Liquid Trucking, top right, travels by airboat with Glenn Wyles, Mitch Snyder, and Juan Jacobo, as they survey damage from the flood waters of the Platte River, in Plattsmouth, Neb., Sunday, March 17.

(AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

Trino Nuno and his dog Tyson navigate flooded streets in Fremont, Neb., Monday, March 18, 2019. Authorities say flooding from the Platte River and other waterways is so bad that just one highway lane into Fremont remains uncovered, and access to that road is severely restricted.

(AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

A barge is moored along the Missouri River as floodwaters begin to creep into a dredge operation in St Joseph, Mo., Monday, March 18, 2019.

(AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

Volunteers move and cover sandbags in preparation of flooding along the Missouri River in St Joseph, Mo., Monday, March 18, 2019.

(AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

Volunteers fill sandbags in preparation for flooding along the Missouri River in St Joseph, Mo., Monday, March 18, 2019.

(U.S. Senator Ben Sasse)

Residents in Nebraska worked together to set up sandbags amid the historic flooding.

(AP Photo/Holbrook Mohr)

Backwater flooding covers stretches of farm lands near Yazoo City, Miss., Sunday, March 17, 2019, as seen in this aerial photograph.

(Bellevue Police Department)

Floodwaters inundated an intersection in Bellevue, Nebraska.

(Twitter / Offutt AFB)

Much of Offutt Air Force Base in Bellevue, Nebraska, where the US Strategic Command and the 557th Weather Wing and 55th Wing are located, was underwater amid the rising floodwaters.

(Twitter/Offutt AFB)

Much of Offutt Air Force Base in Bellevue, Nebraska, where the US Strategic Command and the 557th Weather Wing and 55th Wing are located, was underwater amid the rising floodwaters.

(Mike Bossman / Omaha Police Department)

Historic flooding in Nebraska left some roads completely washed out and scenes of widespread devastation, dramatic aerial photo showed.

(U.S. Senator Ben Sasse)

Massive chunks of ice and rising floodwaters wreaked havoc in Nebraska over the weekend.

(NASA)

NASA photos taken a year apart show the dramatic extent of the historic flooding devastating parts of Nebraska.

NASA satellite imagery here showing extent of Mississippi River flooding between Mississippi and Lousiana. (NASA.gov)


Some people had to leave their homes by boat when water levels rose so high in Roscoe, Illinois.

While many regions of the central U.S. have been affected by the flooding, communities around eastern Nebraska and western Iowa have been hit the hardest.

Eastern Nebraska is among the regions that have been hit the hardest by the catastrophic flooding; nearly 95 percent of the population has been affected by the floods, according to the state of Nebraska.

Vice President Mike Pence surveyed the damage in Omaha this week, ensuring locals that "help is on the way" and that the government is standing with the affected communities, according to the Omaha World-Herald.

A wet winter in California created a stunning display of bright, colorful flowers in the Anza-Borrego State Park in the southern part of the state.

Thousands of verbenas, desert sunflowers and evening dune primrose cover the land, with more to come.

However, thousands of tourists have been flocking to the area, snapping pictures and creating havoc for park officials.

The closest town, Lake Elsinore, has a population of 60,000. Officials estimate that at least 50,000 have come to see the blooms, stretching the region's resources thin.

"Our city is not made for Disneyland-size crowds," city officials wrote on their Facebook page, urging people to stay home.

The city said they will now charge visitors $10 to access parking areas and tour the mountainside.

"The 2019 superbloom is a natural phenomenon unlike anything the city has ever experienced," the press release said.

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Southern Africa was hit with one of the worst natural disasters in decades when Cyclone Idai pounded the region.

More than 1,000 are feared dead after the cyclone hit Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

Idai struck Mozambique at the strength of a Category 3 hurricane. About 65,000 people have been rescued in Mozambique, the AP reported. Many were found clinging to trees and waiting on rooftops.

Around 400,000 people have been displaced by the flooding in Mozambique as floodwaters submerged the coastal city of Beira and areas along the Pungue and Buzi rivers, the AP stated.

AP7

People trudge through a muddied path to safer ground in Chimanimani, about 600 kilometers southeast of Harare, Zimbabwe, Monday, March 18, 2019. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)


At least 2 million people are affected.

Ninety percent of the port city of Beira was destroyed, but people from other parts of the country are traveling to the city for aid.

"Food prices are sky-rocketing [in Beira],” said Rotafina Donco, Oxfam Country Director in Mozambique. Those rescued from the city and now living in transit camps have been without food for days, she said.

The rural nature of the damaged regions has made it difficult for aid workers to get to the areas.

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