Amid growing concerns about the negative effects of climate change, Following historic levels of rainfall and flooding, the governor of Nebraska, Pete Ricketts, has officially declared certain counties disaster areas as officials deal with the situation.
“This really is the most devastating flooding we’ve probably ever had in our state’s history, from the standpoint of how widespread it is,” Ricketts shared.
The flooding crisis started last week after a hurricane-like storm ripped through Nebraska, dumping massive amounts of rain on top of heavily packed snow. The warmer temperatures and moisture rapidly melted the snow, leading to widespread flooding throughout the state.
Temperatures have remained well above freezing since the storm, which has only led to additional runoff issues.
The flooding is so bad that satellites are picking it up from space. Nebraska faces springtime flooding on an annual basis, but the current situation is breaking records in all the major waterways running through the state.
Climate change is one of the reasons why the flooding has worsened, as warmer temperatures are coming earlier than usual.
In one area of the Missouri River, the water line broke a previous high by close to four feet. The flooding also crashed through the Niobrara River’s Spencer Dam, which is located in the north-central part of the state. The failing dam resulted in an 11-foot tall wave of water rushing through the area.
The flood waters have destroyed homes, bridges and roadways all across the state. Over the weekend, a few levees on the Platte River broke, surrounding the city of Fremont with water. With access to the town completely cut-off, officials have been airlifting supplies for local residents.
Flooding has started to level out this week, though experts predict that water levels will remain high for a few more days. Offutt Air Force base and Omaha’s National Weather Service station have both been overrun with water, a reminder of the devastating effects of climate change.
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