OMAHA, Neb. — Flooding in the central U.S. on Friday swamped small towns, forced some residents along waterways to evacuate, threatened to temporarily close a nuclear power plant and shut down stretches of a major river and an interstate highway, foreshadowing a difficult spring flooding season.

The high water, prompted by a massive late-winter storm, pushed some waterways to record levels in Nebraska, South Dakota, Iowa and Minnesota. The flooding was the worst in nearly a decade in places, though the situation was expected to improve quickly in many places over the weekend, according to Mike Gillispie, National Weather Service hydrologist in Sioux Falls.

But in eastern Nebraska, flooding worsened Friday and remained a big concern in the lower Missouri River region — which is a major source for the Mississippi River — with the weather service issuing warnings of high water along the river and its tributaries from southeastern South Dakota to St. Louis in Missouri.

About 45 miles northwest of Omaha, the town of North Bend — home to nearly 1,200 along the banks of the Platte River — emergency workers used boats to evacuate residents. Also Friday afternoon, officials asked residents of Valley, home to nearly 1,900 people just west of Omaha, to evacuate. Within hours of that request, anyone left in the city found all access in and out cut off by floodwaters from the Elkhorn River.

Officials in eastern Nebraska said more than 2,600 people living along the Missouri, Platte and Elkhorn rivers there had been urged to evacuate, as waters breached levees in several rural spots.

“Things are moving and changing at a rapid pace,” Douglas County Commissioner Mary Ann Borgeson said Friday at a news conference. “We need you to follow instructions and evacuate when we say you need to evacuate.”

President Donald Trump on Friday tweeted that he had spoken to Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts about the flooding. The president also praised first responders and emergency response teams for doing “a great job dealing” with flooding, high winds and road closures.

Rising waters on the Missouri River also led Iowa officials on Friday to shut down much of Interstate 29 from the Missouri state line north about 85 miles (137 kilometers) to about Missouri Valley, Iowa. The closure was reminiscent of historic flooding along the river in 2011 that saw segments of the interstate in western Iowa washed away. Officials on Friday said the river is expected to crest …read more

Source:: Deseret News – U.S. & World News

      

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Midwest flooding forces evacuations, closing of road, river

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