Nebraska hit with up to 10 inches of rain in 24-hour period; flood advisories in effect
Flash flood advisories are in effect Friday in southwestern Nebraska as the National Weather Service says "as much as 5-10 inches of rain" has fallen in the area over the last 24 hours.
The advisories, which stretch into neighboring counties in Kansas and Colorado, come as police in the region are warning locals against trying to cross flooded roads.
"At 11:31 AM CDT, local law enforcement reported thunderstorms producing heavy rain in Palisade and Stratton, where rescue and evacuation measures have taken place," the National Weather Service said in a midday advisory. "Between 5 and 10 inches of rain have fallen. Flash flooding is already occurring."
The NWS says a flood watch remains in effect through Saturday morning for "portions of Colorado, northwest Kansas and southwest Nebraska, including the following counties, in Colorado: Kit Carson and Yuma. In northwest Kansas: Cheyenne, Decatur, Graham, Norton, Rawlins, Sheridan, Sherman and Thomas. In southwest Nebraska: Dundy, Hitchcock and Red Willow."
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The Dundy County Sheriff’s Office, which is west of Stratton, shared an image of what it says is a "full-size pickup" completely submerged in a flooded road.
"Please DO NOT attempt crossing standing water," it said.
There have been no reports of deaths or injuries, but the NWS says "most flood deaths occur in vehicles."
"Do not attempt to cross water-covered bridges, dips or low water crossings. Never try to cross a flowing stream, even a small one, on foot," it said. "To escape rising water, find another route over higher ground.
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"Motorists should not attempt to drive around barricades or drive cars through flooded areas," the NWS adds. "Please report observed flooding to local emergency services or law enforcement and request they pass this information to the National Weather Service when you can do so safely."
The Benkelman Post and News Chronicle newspaper reported on its Facebook page that three boats have been used to rescue five people and three dogs from houses in Stratton.
It also shared images of a railroad bridge that it said is "partially collapsed" due to the flooding in the area.
"Looks like concrete footings on one end might have washed out," it reported.
The flooding also has shut down numerous roads in the area.
"Anyone traveling towards Enders, Wauneta or Trenton, call off work and stay home," the Dundy County Sheriff’s Office said. "DO NOT risk it, it is not worth it. Emergency crews are already stretched thin across the area. Stay home and stay safe."