Quantcast

Two Dead, Hundreds Evacuated as ‘Historic’ Flooding Swamps Midwest

Climate
Flooding at the Platte River south of Fremont, Nebraska. Gov. Pete Ricketts

Flooding caused by last week's bomb cyclone storm has broken records in 17 places across the state of Nebraska, CNN reported Sunday. Around nine million people in 14 states along the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers were under a flood watch, CNN meteorologist Karen Maginnis said.


Communities in eastern Nebraska and western Iowa were the most severely impacted, AccuWeather reported. Two Nebraskan residents have died, two are missing and hundreds have been forced to evacuate.

"Nebraska has experienced historic flooding and extreme weather in nearly every region of the state," Nebraska Republican Governor Pete Ricketts tweeted Friday.


The flooding is the result of a bomb cyclone that brought hurricane-force winds, blizzards and heavy rain to the central U.S. last week. This caused rivers to overflow, especially as the ground was frozen, causing all of the excess water and snowmelt to flow into waterways, Brian Barjenbruch of Omaha's National Weather Service told The Washington Post.

"It is some of the worst flooding that we've seen in many years," Barjenbruch said. "In some locations it's the worst flooding on record on many of these river gauges."

The governors of Nebraska, Wisconsin and South Dakota have all declared emergencies, while Iowa's governor has issued several disaster proclamations.

The bomb cyclone that caused the flooding was due to warm, wet air from the Gulf of Mexico colliding with cold Northern air, and Penn State University climate scientist Michael Mann told the Huffington Post that climate change is making the conditions that cause these storms more likely.

"Despite the antics of climate change-denying politicians ... the increased snowfall amounts associated with record-strength Nor'easters (and 'bomb cyclones') is symptomatic of, rather than evidence against, human-caused planetary warming," he wrote in an email.

One of those killed was a Nebraska farmer named James Wilke, who died trying to rescue stranded drivers in his tractor when a bridge collapsed, The Washington Post reported.

Nebraskan Aleido Rojas Galan died Friday in floodwaters in Iowa. More than 650 people in Nebraska have had to flee to shelters.

Most of the records broken by flooding were along the Missouri river, where waters crested one to four feet above previous records in different locations throughout Nebraska, CNN reported.

More rain is expected in the area Tuesday, AccuWeather reported, which could make the situation worse.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Damage at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge from the 2016 occupation. USFWS

By Tara Lohan

When armed militants with a grudge against the federal government seized the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in rural Oregon back in the winter of 2016, I remember avoiding the news coverage. Part of me wanted to know what was happening, but each report I read — as the occupation stretched from days to weeks and the destruction grew — made me so angry it was hard to keep reading.

Read More Show Less
Computer model projection of temperature anomalies across Europe on June 27. Temperature scale in °C. Tropicaltidbits.com

A searing heat wave has begun to spread across Europe, with Germany, France and Belgium experiencing extreme temperatures that are set to continue in the coming days.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored

Zero Waste Kitchen Essentials

Simple swaps that cut down on kitchen trash.

Sponsored

By Kayla Robbins

Along with the bathroom, the kitchen is one of the most daunting areas to try and make zero waste.

Read More Show Less
Skull morphology of hybrid "narluga" whale. Nature / Mikkel Høegh Post

In the 1980s, a Greenlandic subsistence hunter shot and killed a whale with bizarre features unlike any he had ever seen before. He knew something was unique about it, so he left its abnormally large skull on top of his toolshed where it rested until a visiting professor happened upon it a few years later.

Read More Show Less
A house under construction with plastic bottles filled with sand to build shelters that better withstand the climate of the country where temperatures reach up to 50° C Awserd in the Saharawi refugee camp Dakhla on Dec. 31, 2018 in Tindouf, Algeria. Stefano Montesi / Corbis / Getty Images

A UN expert painted a bleak picture Tuesday of how the climate crisis could impact global inequality and human rights, leading to a "climate apartheid" in which the rich pay to flee the consequences while the rest are left behind.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
The Oregon Senate Chamber. Cacophony / CC BY 3.0

Six days after Republican Oregon Senators fled the state to avoid voting on a bill to address the climate crisis, the Senate president declared the bill dead.

Read More Show Less
Artist's conception of solar islands in the open ocean. PNAS

Millions of solar panels clustered together to form an island could convert carbon dioxide in seawater into methanol, which can fuel airplanes and trucks, according to new research from Norway and Switzerland and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, PNAS, as NBC News reported. The floating islands could drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions and dependence on fossil fuels.

Read More Show Less
Marcos Alves / Moment Open / Getty Images

More than 40 percent of insects could go extinct globally in the next few decades. So why did the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last week OK the 'emergency' use of the bee-killing pesticide sulfoxaflor on 13.9 million acres?

EcoWatch teamed up with Center for Biological Diversity via EcoWatch Live on Facebook to find out why. Environmental Health Director and Senior Attorney Lori Ann Burd explained how there is a loophole in the The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act under section 18, "that allows for entities and states to request emergency exemptions to spraying pesticides where they otherwise wouldn't be allowed to spray."

Read More Show Less