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Flood damages exceed $1.3 billion in Nebraska as floodwaters begin to slowly recede across central US

By Adriana Navarro, AccuWeather staff writer
By Amanda Schmidt, AccuWeather staff writer
March 24, 2019, 12:45:22 PM EDT


With the floodwaters receding in parts of Iowa and Nebraska, residents are returning to start the process of cleaning up and starting over.

“I lost my dad’s Bible,” Iowa resident Ronda Mauseth told reporters, her voice breaking. She stood in a muddied lawn, the receded river just beyond the trees nearby. “You can’t replace that stuff.”

As residents of Iowa and Nebraska return to their homes, thousands arrived to find the soaked remnants of their lives before the flood.

“Losing those pictures, it’s gonna be the one thing that breaks my heart,” Iowa resident Rose Phillips said, looking at a waterlogged and mud-stained photo from a past Halloween. “Losing pictures like this.”

While residents of Nebraska and Iowa begin cleaning up, those in northwestern Missouri can only wait.

“Really all you can do is get as much out as you can and hope for the best,” Missouri resident Trais Lawson said.

After most of the residents evacuated Tuesday, the city of Craig is mostly underwater. While some residents are determined to start over, others find it all to be too much.

(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)


“We’re going to leave. I can’t live here. I can’t do this again next year,” Mauseth said.

Evacuations, flood warnings and states of emergency persist as historic river flooding continues to burden the north-central United States. A 'bomb cyclone' struck the region two weeks ago, which triggered massive snowmelt and dropped heavy rain that have both overwhelmed rivers and waterways.

On Wednesday, two small Missouri towns evacuated as the Missouri River rose. The small town of Craig, comprised of about 250 residents, was forced to evacuate, while most of the roughly 150 residents of Lewis and Clark Village voluntarily evacuated as the threat of river flooding increased.


The Missouri State Highway Patrol said water patrol troopers worked into the night Wednesday in and around Craig, pulling four people from homes and three others from a boat that ran out of gas.

Some residents in the northern Illinois community of Roscoe have been forced to leave their homes on boats as the Rock River flooded the surrounding area, the Associated Press (AP) reported.

As rivers have overflowed their banks and multiple levees have failed, hundreds of people have been forced to evacuate throughout the north-central region. Hundreds of homes and buildings are flooded. Many roads remain impassable.

On Thursday night, a voluntary evacuation was issued for parts of St. Joseph, Missouri, behind the L-455 levee system, according to the city's emergency management office. The voluntary evacuation was issued due to forecast water rises on the Missouri River.


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

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 has been hit the hardest by the catastrophic flooding, nearly 95 percent of the population has been affected by the floods as of Tuesday, according to the State of Nebraska Government Page.

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The flooding has also taken a heavy toll on agriculture. Floodwaters have inundated thousands of acres of farmland, threatening stockpiled grain and killing livestock.

According to the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency, flood damages have reached $1.3 billion as of Wednesday.

Water and sewer problems caused by the flooding continued on Tuesday in regions throughout Nebraska, the Omaha World-Herald reports. The shortage of fresh water forced residents and businesses to ration water or resort to using portable showers and toilets.

Winter Weather Flooding

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)


State governors extended disaster proclamations and states of emergency through early this week.

On Tuesday, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds extended the disaster proclamation to an additional five counties impacted by the recent flooding. The governor has issued proclamations for 41 of Iowa’s 99 counties.

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

Also on Tuesday, Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts submitted an expedited request to the federal government for disaster assistance following the historic flooding. The request now goes to FEMA’s regional office and headquarters for consideration.

On Wednesday, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz signed an emergency executive order to provide aerial assistance to Nebraska. The order came after Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts requested Minnesota Army National Guard helicopter support. It will remain in effect until the emergency flood conditions in Nebraska subside.

On Thursday, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson declared a state of emergency in response to the worsening conditions along the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers.

“We will continue to work closely with our local partners to assess needs and provide resources to help as Missourians continue this flood fight and as we work to assist one another," Parson said.

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