Midwest flooding (Update 5-a.m. 3/17/19)

News

March 17th, 2019 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — 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. The scramble to move people out of harm’s way was expected to subside going into the new week, as rivers and creeks in flooded eastern Nebraska and western Iowa were expected to crest Saturday and Sunday. That left officials downstream looking to prepare for likely flooding.

A man rescued from his stalled and flooded vehicle in western Iowa, Saturday, was flown to a hospital in Omaha. According to reports, the man called for help shortly before 7 a.m. Saturday and told emergency dispatchers he was stranded in a truck that was taking on water in Pacific Junction. Officials say it was almost an hour before rescue crews could reach him. He was flown to the hospital around an hour later. His name and medical condition have not been released.

The National Weather Service said the Missouri River at St. Joseph reached nearly 26 feet on Saturday, about a foot below what’s considered major flooding at the northwest Missouri city. But it’s expected to crest Wednesday or Thursday at 29.3 feet — more than two feet above major flooding level.

Evacuation efforts in eastern Nebraska and some spots in western Iowa on Saturday were hampered by reports of levee breaches and washouts of bridges and roads. In Mills County, authorities ordered people in some rural areas to evacuate after the Missouri River overtopped levees. Officials in western Iowa and eastern Nebraska were urging people not to drive unless necessary.