Two people have been killed in Nebraska as the submerged state grapples with the worst flooding its seen in 50 years.
Rainfall and swollen rivers, left in the wake of the ‘bomb cyclone’ winter storm swirling through the US, has left Nebraska inundated with water, neighborhoods completely submerged, and bridges ripped apart.
Governor Pete Ricketts declared a state of emergency in 53 counties, saying that one-third of the state has been affected in the devastating floods and 2,600 locals living near rivers were urged to evacuate on Friday.
‘This is the largest widespread amount of flooding we’ve had in the last half century,’ Ricketts said on the deluge.
Nebraska saw its various rivers break through their banks, cresting at up to 25 feet and rushing into neighborhoods, forcing locals to climb on their roofs and cry for help.
Helicopters were sent to rescue residents trapped in the fast-rising waters. Locals in Arlington, Nebraska pictured on their roof waiting for help to arrive as the state grapples with the worst flood in 50 years
Highways were broken when dams burst and rivers swelled in Nebraska this week, thanks to rain and snow fall created in the ‘bomb cyclone’ winter storm that is weakening as it swirls towards the east
Waterloo was hardly recognizable as water reached the height of treetops and only the tops of telephone poles were visible
Dodge street is closed from flood waters on Saturday in Omaha, Nebraska after the highway was submerged
Gushing floodwaters broke a bridge near Genoa this weekend as the Governor Pete Ricketts declared a state of emergency
The swollen Platte River in Nebraska pictured above along the I-80 bridge near Ashland that was closed on Wednesday and reopened Saturday after the massive floods receded
A farm near Fremont pictured above as the town as turned into a virtual island after the Platte and Elkhorn Rivers flooded
An aerial view of damaged buildings after a storm triggered historic flooding, in Valley, Nebraska pictured above, drowning homes and businesses in water
Swamped: Streets turned into rivers and Valley, Nebraska neighborhoods into swamps in the historic flooding
Highway 275 is seen underwater after a storm the worst flooding in 50 years, near Waterloo, Nebraska on Saturday
The floodwaters from the Niobrara River in the northern part of the state were so strong they blasted through the 90-year-old Spencer Dam dam on Thursday, drowning the local town of Lincoln in water and completely washing out a bridge on US Highway 281.
The flooded Platte and Elkhorn Rivers turned the town of Fremont into an island. Fremont was issued a mandatory evacuation for residents by the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office.
The Missouri River, which borders Missouri and Nebraska reached 26 feet on Saturday – a foot below what’s considered major flooding – but is expected to crest on Wednesday or Thursday at 29.3 feet, according to WPTV.
Rescue teams in boats have been pulling trapped residents out of the flood waters since Thursday.
On Saturday two Nebraska National Guard Black Hawk helicopters spent the day placing massive 1,500-pound sandbags to fortify an island on the Platte River that holds the City of Lincoln’s wells and water supply.
Rescue efforts on Saturday were hindered by levee breaches and the washouts of bridges and highway roads. Officials said power may be shut off in communities near the flooding rivers for safety reasons.
Brave farmer 50-year-old James Wilke, of Platte County, lost his life when he tried to join the rescue effort on his tractor, despite the wind and rain, on Thursday.
He died when a bridge collapsed as he was crossing it, according to the Omaha World-Herald.
Brave farmer 50-year-old James Wilke, of Platte County, lost his life when he tried to join the rescue effort on his tractor and died when a bridge collapsed as he was crossing it on Thursday
Governor Pete Ricketts shared pictures of the damage found in Fremont and Niobrabra and Lynch on his social media including this highway road eaten out by the turbulent waters
Destroyed: Buildings and businesses were unrecognizable after they were washed out and battered by the floodwaters
Highway road bridges collapsed and crumbled as they succumbed to the fierce, rushing floodwaters in the state
Businesses, homes and farms, were buried underwater as with this community, drowning under the overflowing Missouri River in Platteview, Nebraska on Saturday
Statues were submerged in the overflowing Missouri River as with this Monument to Labor Statue in Omaha on Saturday
Governor Pete Ricketts (left) and Unicameral Speaker Jim Scheer (right) surveyed historic flooding in portions of northeast Nebraska on Saturday
Not only was water a problem, but the cold temperatures led to slush and ice and bitter weather conditions
The bridge collapsed under the weight of the tractor and a frantic search was launched to find his body washed downstream about nine hours later.
‘He was always the first to go help somebody,’ his cousin Paul Wilke said. ‘He was always the first to go help somebody.’
A second Nebraska man 55-year-old Aleido Rojas Galan of Norfolk died at a hospital in Lincoln after he got caught in the rushing waters along the state line with Iowa on Friday evening.
Galan was with two other men in a car when the vehicle got trapped in the floods and they tried to swim to safety.
When rescuers arrived on the scene Galan and another man were ‘hanging onto trees’, according to the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office. Galan later died from his injuries.
At least two other people are also missing in the floods in the state. A Norfolk man was last seen on top of his submerged car late Thursday and got swept in the water and wasn’t seen again.
Another man got caught in the current when the Spencer Dam collapsed on Thursday.
Water pictured seeping into the west side of town despite being the placement of sandbags in Fremont
Horses that were being boarded in Inglewood, Nebraska are moved through floodwaters to higher ground in Fremont
Surveyors with the USGS take measurement of the Missouri River in Omaha, Nebraska on Saturday after its floods caused thousands to evacuate
As of Sunday morning minor and major flooding persisted in Nebraska with many roads still closed
While Sunday will be calm, rain and snow is expected to return on Tuesday, which could lead to more flooding
Nebraska state officials have no indicated how many homes were damaged or how many people needed rescue.
And the perilous weather isn’t over just yet. While Sunday will be calm, the state will see a chance of rain and snow on Monday and Tuesday.
The town of Fremont, about 40 miles northwest of Omaha, became an island as the Platte River and Elkhorn River overflowed.
‘We’re like an island. You cannot get in our out,’ Fremont Councilwoman Linda McClain said to the New York Times.
By Saturday the Elkhorn River flooded Waterloo, cresting at 42.63 feet, creating at 14ft flood stage. By Tuesday the river is forecast to fall below flood state.