Vice President Mike Pence surveys 'devastating flood damage' in Omaha, Nebraska

By Amanda Schmidt, AccuWeather staff writer
March 20, 2019, 2:52:47 AM EDT


Seventy-four cities, 65 counties and four tribal areas in Nebraska had declared states of emergency as of Monday evening, as rivers remain at historic levels in areas of the north-central United States.

Regions of the Midwest battled rivers swollen by days of heavy rains and spring snowmelt.

At the request of U.S. President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence flew to Omaha, Nebraska to survey the damage in the region on Tuesday with Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts and Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a tweet.

Vice President Mike Pence made a stop on their tour of flood damage to meet with the Waterloo Fire and Rescue.

Pence called the area the "heart of the Heartland" and thanked the first responders for their diligent work.

Vice President Mike Pence spoke to the governors of Nebraska and Iowa to assure them that the Trump administration will expedite federal aid and presidential disaster declarations for their states.

"To the people of Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota, Kansas & all regions impacted: we are with you!" Pence said in a tweet.

Vice President Mike Pence thanking emergency personnel in Omaha, Nebraska. (Twitter/VP)

Vice President Mike Pence surveying flood damage in Omaha, Nebraska. (Twitter/VP)

Vice President Mike Pence surveying flood damage in Omaha, Nebraska. (Twitter/VP)

Vice President Mike Pence surveying flood damage in Omaha, Nebraska. (Twitter/VP)

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

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

Vice President Mike Pence getting briefed while en route to Nebraska. (Twitter/VP)

(Facebook/Illinois Department of Transportation)

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

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. (Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management via AP)

(Photo/NASA)

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

(AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

Gabe Schmidt, owner of Liquid Trucking, back right, travels by air boat 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)

Gabe Schmidt, owner of Liquid Trucking, back right, travels by air boat 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.

(Mike Bossman / Omaha Police Department)

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

(Mike Bossman / Omaha Police Department)

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

(Photo/Bellevue Police Department)

Floodwaters inundated an intersection in Bellevue, Nebraska.

(Photo/U.S. Senator Ben Sasse)

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

(Mike Bossman / Omaha Police Department)

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

(Photo/U.S. Senator Ben Sasse)

One home looked like an island as it was completely surrounded amid the historic flooding in Nebraska.

(AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

Gabe Schmidt, owner of Liquid Trucking, right, talks to Glenn Wyles, second right, as they survey by air boat flood damage from the flood waters of the Platte River, in Plattsmouth, Neb., Sunday, March 17, 2019.

(AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

A BNSF train sits in flood waters from the Platte River, in Plattsmouth, Neb., Sunday, March 17, 2019.

(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.

(Photo/Christopher Heady)

Highways submerged by flood waters in Nebraska.

(Photo/@OmahaHeating)

Flooding in Ashland, Nebraska.

(Image/Gov. Pete Ricketts)

What remains after the failure of the Spencer Dam in Nebraska.

(Photo/Nebraska State Patrol)

A bridge that fell apart due to the strong current of a swollen river in Genoa, Nebraska.

(Photo/Nebraska State Patrol)

A road destroyed by flooding in Nebraska.

(Photo/U.S. Senator Ben Sasse)

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

(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, dramatic aerial photo showed.

(Photo/Nebraska State Patrol)

A vehicle submerged in flood waters in Columbus, Nebraska.

(Photo/Mitch Schneringer)

Flooding in Arlington, Nebraska, as seen from a C150 airplane.

(Photo/Nebraska State Patrol)

A closer view of the bridge that fell apart in Genoa, Nebraska.

(Photo/Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts)

Aerial view of Nebraska flooding.

(AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

A Welcome to Wahoo sign stands in flood waters outside Wahoo, Neb., Wednesday, March 13, 2019.

(Photo/Nebraska State Patrol)

The Nebraska National Guard performing air rescues near Arlington, Nebraska.

(Photo/Kade Nelson)

River flooding has overtaken a highway in Columbus, Nebraska.

(Photo/@everythinglo18)

Flood waters in Cascade, Iowa, on Thursday.

(AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

Jim Freeman tries to saw through thick ice slabs on his property in Fremont, Neb., Thursday, March 14, 2019, after the Ice-covered Platte River flooded its banks.

(AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

Thick slabs of ice slabs surround a structure in Fremont, Neb., Thursday, March 14, 2019, after the ice-covered Platte River flooded its banks.

(Photo/Sarpy County Sheriff)

View of flooding in Sarpy County, Neb.

(Photo/Avery Andersen)

A baseball field flooded in Atlantic, Iowa.

(AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

Drivers go through flooded highway 92, as the Cottonwood and Wahoo creeks overflow their banks, in Wahoo, Neb., Wednesday, March 13, 2019.

(Photo/Michael Martz)

Streets flooded in Boone, Iowa, on Thursday.

(Photo/@everythinglo18)

Flood waters in Cascade, Iowa, on Thursday.

(Photo/@everythinglo18)

Flood waters in Cascade, Iowa, on Thursday.

(Photo/OPDOfcBossman)

A large part of Nebraska has been hit with catastrophic flooding.

(Photo/OPDOfcBossman)

A large part of Nebraska has been hit with catastrophic flooding.


At least 14 states have flood warnings in effect in the central U.S., according to the National Weather Service (NWS). The flood warnings span from South Dakota and Minnesota southward to Louisiana, as well as in Wisconsin and Michigan.

While flooding is ongoing in many areas of the north-central U.S., communities around eastern Nebraska and western Iowa have been hit the hardest since the 'bomb cyclone' struck last week.

At least three fatalities have been reported as a result of the flooding, according to KMTV in Omaha. The third death was reported on Monday by the Platte County Sheriff's Office. An 80-year-old woman was found dead in her home near Columbus after several unsuccessful attempts to rescue her.

James Wilke of Columbus, Nebraska, was killed on Thursday when a bridge collapsed as he was attempting to reach stranded motorists.

At least two other people are missing in Nebraska.

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Hundreds of people have been forced to evacuate as rivers have overflowed their banks and multiple levees have failed.

Hundreds of homes and buildings are flooded. Many roads remain impassable. State and local officials warn pedestrians and motorists to stay updated on closures and conditions.

About 200 miles of levees were compromised, either breached or overtopped, in four states, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said.

Several more regions declared states of emergency on Tuesday as a result of the increasing flood threat.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer declared a state of emergency for Newaygo County in western Michigan on Tuesday after heavy rains and melting snow caused flooding, the Associated Press (AP) reports.

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