Parts of US Midwest mired in deadly and historic flooding

One of many areas near the southeast side of Offutt Air Force Base affected by flood waters is seen in Nebraska in this March 16, 2019 file photo. — Reuters

CHICAGO, Illinois — The US Midwest struggled on Monday with historic flooding that claimed at least two lives, displaced residents, and damaged hundreds of homes and businesses.

Rising waters impacted much of Nebraska, as well as parts of Iowa and Wisconsin. All were under states of emergency after a major storm last week dumped snow and rain, even as melting snow was already raising the levels of area waterways.

Neighboring states could also be affected during the week as floodwaters drain, officials said.

“Major to historic river flooding is expected to continue across parts of the Missouri and Mississippi River Basins due to rapid snow melt the past few days,” the National Weather Service said.

“Flood warnings and advisories remain in effect, mainly across eastern Nebraska and into parts of Iowa.”

Across Nebraska, record flooding has been reported in 17 locations and could last a week, according to officials.

At its highest point, the Missouri River was expected to crest at 47.5 feet, beating its 2011 record by more than one foot.

“Comparisons to 2011 were inevitable,” the National Weather Service's office in Iowa tweeted, “But these floods have resulted in many more rescues and widespread damage in eastern Nebraska and western Iowa.”

Failing levees were blamed for flooding in numerous communities — damaging homes and businesses.

Hundreds of people were rescued by the Nebraska National Guard and emergency workers, officials said. The American Red Cross set up two dozen shelters in the state.

Fifty-four Nebraska cities issued emergency declarations, as did four Native American tribal areas.

Three dozen Iowa counties were under states of emergency.

In Wisconsin, roads were closed throughout the state and more than 200 people evacuated, according to officials.

Two people were killed during the height of the storm last week.

A Nebraska farmer died Thursday trying to rescue a motorist stranded by floodwaters, the Omaha World-Herald reported.

Aleido Rojas Galan, 55, was killed Friday in Iowa when his vehicle was swept away by floodwaters, TV station KETV said. — AFP