More floodwaters rising in storm-ravaged U.S. Midwest

By Humeyra Pamuk VALLEY, Neb.

Reuters March 22, 2019 00:07:48 IST
More floodwaters rising in storm-ravaged U.S. Midwest

More floodwaters rising in stormravaged US Midwest

By Humeyra Pamuk

VALLEY, Neb. (Reuters) - As icy, lethal floodwaters fed by rains and melting snow recede in Nebraska and Iowa, leaving destroyed homes, drowned cattle and swamped farmland, Midwest states downstream were set on Thursday for a relentless surge of the Missouri River.

Flooding from last week's storm has already caused nearly $1.5 billion in damage in Nebraska, killed at least four people with another missing.

"This isn't over," said David Roth, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service's Weather Prediction Center.

"The river will have several more major crests through next week," he said, not counting the numerous tributaries that feed into the Missouri up and down the Midwest and will likely inundate communities into next month.

Ed Clark, director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Water Center in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, said the flooding of the past two weeks "will continue through May and become more dire and may be exacerbated in the coming weeks as the water flows downstream."

"This is shaping up to be a potentially unprecedented flood season, with more than 200 million people at risk for flooding in their communities," Clark said in NOAA's outlook for spring.

The waters have already swamped a large swath of Missouri, Nebraska and Iowa along one of North America's longest rivers. A state of emergency has been declared in all or parts of the three Midwestern farm states.

"We're going to get some moderate rain this weekend over eastern Nebraska, maybe a half inch (1.3 cm)," Roth said. "It doesn't sound like much, but any more precipitation is bad."

The Missouri River's next major flood crest is forecast to hit St. Joseph, Missouri, at 6 a.m. CDT (1100 GMT) on Friday and a day later in Kansas City, Missouri, 55 miles (90 km) to the south, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

"Where the Missouri meets the Mississippi River in St. Charles, (Missouri,) it has already peaked, but it's going to crest again early next week," meteorologist Roth said.

Howard Geib, 54, owns a farm near the town of Craig in Holt County, Missouri, which issued a mandatory evacuation on Wednesday. Geib said a levee near his farm broke at the weekend, and he saw at least 10 levees in the county that have broken.

"They broke," Geib said. "There are 600-, 700-, 1,000-foot-long holes in the levees."

More than 2,400 Nebraska homes and businesses have been destroyed or damaged, with 200 miles (320 km) of roads unusable and 11 bridges wiped out, Governor Pete Ricketts said on Wednesday.

Ricketts estimated the floods caused at least $439 million in damage to public infrastructure and other assets, and $85 million to privately owned assets. He put flood damage for the state's agricultural sector at nearly $1 billion.

Offutt Air Force Base near Omaha, which houses the U.S. Strategic Command, whose mission includes defending against and responding to nuclear attacks, remained heavily flooded but operational, officials said Wednesday.

Outside Omaha, Pete Smock, 42, worked to clear deep mud surrounding his home and construction business in Valley, Nebraska, in what will be a long cleanup for the region.

"Devastation is everywhere. I haven't seen anything like this in my lifetime," Smock said.

(Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk; additional reporting and writing by Rich McKay in Atlanta, editing by G Crosse)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.