Nebraska under water: Two killed as record levels of flooding break through dams, turn towns into islands, and force people onto their rooftops to be saved as 2,600 are urged to evacuate

Sunday, March 17, 2019
By Paul Martin

Nebraska is reeling from record levels of flooding – the worst in 50 years – that has killed two locals
Platte County farmer James Wilke, 50, died Thursday while trying to rescue trapped locals on his tractor
Norfolk man Aleido Rojas Galan, 55, died Friday after his car got swept in the current and he swam for help
He was found clinging on to a tree for dear life and later succumbed to his injuries
Nebraska’s Niobrara, Platte, Missouri and Elkhorn Rivers broke their banks and flooded this week
The Niobrara River broke the Spencer Dam on Thursday, submerging the nearby town of Lincoln
The town of Fremont was turned into an island when the Elkhorn and Platte Rivers overflowed
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
Rain and snow is still forecast for Monday and Tuesday

By MARLENE LENTHANG
DAILYMAIL.COM
17 March 2019

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.

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.

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