Flood­wa­ters rise in Mid­west af­ter heavy rain, snow

The Charlotte Observer (Sunday) - - News - BY MARGERY A. BECK

Au­thor­i­ties were us­ing boats and large ve­hi­cles on Satur­day to res­cue and evac­u­ate res­i­dents in parts of the Mid­west where a re­cent del­uge of rain­wa­ter and snowmelt was sent pour­ing over frozen ground, over­whelm­ing creeks and rivers, and killing at least one per­son.

Res­cue ef­forts in eastern Ne­braska were ham­pered by re­ports of levee breaches and washouts of bridges and roads, in­clud­ing part of Ne­braska High­way 92, lead­ing in and out of south- west Omaha. Au­thor­i­ties con­firmed that a bridge on that high­way that crosses the Elkhorn River had been washed out Satur­day. In Fre­mont, west of Omaha, the Dodge County Sher­iff’s Of­fice is­sued amanda­tory evac­u­a­tion for some res­i­dents af­ter flood­wa­ters broke through a levee along the Platte River. And in Mills County, Iowa, au­thor­i­ties or­dered peo­ple in some ru­ral ar­eas to evac­u­ate af­ter the Mis­souri River over­topped lev­ees.

The flood­ing fol­lowed days of snow and rain – record-set­ting, in some places – that swept through the West and Mid­west. The del­uge pushed some wa­ter- ways, in­clud­ing the Mis­souri River, to record lev­els in Ne­braska, South Dakota, Iowa and Min­nesota. The flood­ing was the worst in nearly a decade in places.

The fam­ily of farmer James Wilke, 50, of Colum­bus, Neb., said he was killed Thurs­day when a bridge col­lapsed as he was us­ing his trac­tor to try to reach stranded mo­torists on Thurs­day. His body was found down­stream, his cousin Paul Wilke told the Colum­bus Tele­gram. Gass Haney Funeral Home con­firmed James Wilke’s death.

At least two other peo­ple were miss­ing in flood­wa­ters in Ne­braska. Of­fi­cials said a Nor­folk man was seen on top of his flooded car late Thurs­day be­fore be­ing swept away in the wa­ter and an­other man was swept away by wa­ters when a dam col­lapsed on the Nio­brara River.

Of­fi­cials in Sarpy County, south of Omaha, said Satur­day that power may be shut off to com­mu­ni­ties along the Mis­souri, Platte and Elkhorn rivers for safety rea­sons. They warned those who choose to ig­nore calls to evac­u­ate that res­cues would be at­tempted only dur­ing day­light hours. Some cities and towns, such as North Bend on the banks of the Platte River, were sub­merged. Oth­ers, such as Wa­ter­loo and Fre­mont, were sur­rounded by flood­wa­ters, strand­ing res­i­dents in vir­tual is­lands with no ac­cess in or out.

NATI HARNIK AP

Ducks swim Satur­day as the high wa­ters of the Mis­souri River al­most sub­merge statue fig­ures in Omaha, Neb.

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