Recent local flooding has now killed three people and one person remains missing. This flooding is “the most devastating flooding” in Nebraska’s history, according to Governor Pete Ricketts. CNN meteorologist Dave Hennen reported more than eight million people are under flood warnings in the Midwest and in the Mississippi River Valley. The area that is believed to have been hit the hardest with the flooding is eastern Nebraska. Chris Beutler, Mayor of Lincoln, Neb. requested a disaster declaration from Gov. Ricketts on Monday after the flooding caused 284,000 residents of Lincoln to be placed under restricted water usage. Power outages have occured in wells along the Platte River, which lead to residents being asked to limit their water needs to drinking and limited health and sanitation purposes. Mayor Beutler mandated that restaurants serve food using disposable place settings and cups. He also shut down car washes and prohibited outdoor water use for the time that the city remains under these restrictions.
Flood records have been shattered in 17 places according to Nebraska Emergency Management Agency. More rivers are likely to break cresting records this week (a crest is the highest point of a flood wave). The Washington Post calls these floods both historic and horrific because of the widespread damage they’ve caused and are still causing.
Though Nebraska got hit the hardest, Iowa has also suffered from the flooding. Iowa postal services at various locations are now under emergency suspension due to the floods, according to KCCI News in Des Moines. A levee broke in Hamburg, Iowa, which sent river water into the business district of Hamburg. Nearly half of the town’s population of 500 residents had to evacuate.
Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds toured much of the flooding. After visiting Hamburg, she went to Council Bluffs and reported that 41 counties have requested and been approved for help through the governor’s disaster proclamation issued Thursday. President Donald Trump tweeted his support for Gov. Reynolds and the local officials managing the flooding. Press Secretary Sarah Sanders reported that, per request of President Trump, Vice President Mike Pence will visit the Midwest on Tuesday, March 19, to survey the flood damage. Both governors, Ricketts and Reynolds, will accompany the vice president to see the impact on Nebraska and Iowa. The cause of the flooding is partially due to a “bomb cycle,” which includes hurricane-like winds and blizzard conditions. Major rain showers melted the ice and snow, and it ended up in rivers and streams which caused flooding and damage for days after the initial precipitation ended.