Scenes From the 'Historic' Floods That Hit the Midwest — And Could Get Worse
The Midwest is facing even more “historic and catastrophic flooding,” according to the National Weather Service in the wake of a bomb cyclone that dumped unusual amounts of snow and rain across the region last week. Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds has included 41 of Iowa’s 99 counties in her state disaster declaration, according to the Associated Press. Several rivers in the region — including the Missouri and the Mississippi — have swelled to dangerous levels, flooding small towns and breaching more than a dozen levees. Three people have died as a result of the floodwaters and two men in Nebraska have been missing since Thursday, according to the Associated Press. Emergencies have been declared in 74 cities and 65 counties according to the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency, and water levels are expected to rise with more rain expected and snow continuing to melt. According to the National Weather Service, 9 million people across 14 states are still under flood warnings. Vice President Mike Pence is traveling to the Midwest Tuesday to survey the damage in Omaha, Nebraska, where hundreds of homes have been damaged and tens of thousands of acres covered in water, according to the Associated Press. Devastation has been particularly concentrated in eastern Nebraska. The Nebraska Emergency Management Agency described the flooding as one of “the most devastating disasters in recent history.” Towns like Fremont have been completely surrounded by water, making relief and rescue efforts particularly challenging. Pilots have been flying supplies in to people who are stranded, according to local media. Video footage from an airplane show fields and roads in the area completely submerged. Roads and highways have also been severely damaged in areas surrounding the city of Omaha. The flooding has so far had an estimated cost of $550 million on the public sector in Nebraska and $90 million on private infrastructure. In Iowa, failing levees in Mills County forced residents to evacuate. Buildings in the towns of Hornick and Pacific Junction were overwhelmed by water, forcing more than 400 people to evacuate, according to the Des Moines Register.