AP NEWS

The Latest: Flooding prompts disaster proclamation in Iowa

March 14, 2019
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Blowing snow reduces visibility at the Mount Rushmore National Memorial near Keystone, S.D., Wednesday, March 13, 2019. A window-rattling storm brought blizzards, floods and a tornado across more than 25 states Wednesday, stretching from the northern Rocky Mountains to Texas and beyond. (Ryan Hermens/Rapid City Journal via AP)

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — The Latest on a winter storm hitting the West and Midwest (all times local):

3:35 p.m.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds has signed an emergency disaster proclamation that allows state resources to be used in response to flooding in the state.

Reynolds on Thursday also activated the state emergency operations center to coordinate the flood response and help monitor rapidly evolving conditions.

The National Weather Service has issued flood warnings and a wind advisory for Thursday afternoon and evening in portions of Iowa, and says river flooding will continue through the weekend due to excessive runoff from recent rainfall and snowmelt.

The governor’s action allows people in 21 counties to qualify for grants to cover flood-related expenses.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says it has closed all or part of nine state parks due to rising flood waters.

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1:15 p.m.

A massive late-winter storm has produced record rainfall in parts of the Midwest, with flooding happening in several states.

The National Weather Service reports several cities in eastern South Dakota and northwestern Iowa set rainfall records for the date Wednesday.

Flooding is occurring in those states and it’s forced the 200 residents of Hornick, Iowa, to evacuate. Evacuations also are occurring in several eastern Nebraska communities.

Authorities say a hydroelectric power dam failed on the Niobrara River in northern Nebraska, damaging a highway. No one was hurt.

Weather service meteorologist Peter Rogers says flooding is likely to persist into the weekend.

Lennox, South Dakota, Mayor Tracy West says there’s a lot of water around and “it’s got to find a way to get out of here.”

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11:45 a.m.

A utility worker in the Texas Panhandle was killed while working to restore power amid powerful winds pushed in by a storm system that’s pummeling parts of the Midwest .

Amarillo-based Xcel Energy says the man died Wednesday evening while working in Hereford, near the New Mexico border. Wind gusts in the area exceeded 80 mph (128.74 kph).

The utility says 121,000 customers in Texas and New Mexico were without power Wednesday, but that number had dropped significantly by Thursday morning.

A powerful storm barreled into the Midwest after causing widespread power outages in Colorado, where a blizzard forced the cancellation of hundreds of flights and wreaked havoc on roadways.

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11:15 a.m.

Flooding caused by a massive late-winter storm prompted evacuations in eastern Nebraska communities as authorities searched for one person whose vehicle was swept away by floodwaters.

Norfolk Public Safety Director Shane Weidner says emergency crews responded early Thursday when a vehicle was swept off a local road. The missing individual had not been found by midmorning Thursday.

Rising water on the Elkhorn River prompted an evacuation of the eastern side of Norfolk. Evacuations also occurred in several other eastern Nebraska communities.

On the other side of the state, western Nebraska residents were struggling with blizzard-like conditions with wind gusts approaching 90 mph (144.8 kph). The weather moved in after causing widespread power outages in Colorado, where a blizzard forced the cancellation of hundreds of flights and wreaked havoc on roadways.

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10 a.m.

Parts of Colorado and Wyoming remain paralyzed in the wake of a massive late-winter blizzard that swept through the two states before barreling into the Midwest.

The storm knocked out power to tens of thousands of homes and businesses, closed hundreds of miles of highway, stranded thousands of motorists and shut down airports. A Colorado State Patrol officer was hit and killed by a car while helping another driver.

Major highways in the two states remained closed Thursday morning as blizzard conditions persisted in some areas. Crews were searching for stranded motorists and worked to clear the roads.

Denver Airport reopened but more than 600 incoming and outgoing flights were canceled early Thursday before operations could resume. Schools and government offices remained closed or delayed reopening.

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8:10 a.m.

All state offices are now closed in South Dakota as blizzard conditions barrel into the Midwest.

Gov. Kristi Noem says only essential personnel should go to work at state offices Thursday, as the National Weather Service warns of blizzard and winter-storm conditions across several states.

North Dakota transportation officials closed sections of major interstates after blowing snow reduced visibility to nearly zero. Blizzard conditions also hit western Nebraska, while heavy rain has caused flooding elsewhere in Nebraska and South Dakota, and in Iowa.

The weather is moving into the Midwest after causing widespread power outages in Colorado, where a blizzard forced the cancellation of hundreds of flights and wreaked havoc on roadways. A Colorado State Patrol officer was hit and killed by a car as he helped a driver who’d slid off an interstate near Denver.

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6:50 a.m.

South Dakota’s governor has closed state offices across much of the state as blizzard conditions move in from the West.

Offices in 49 of South Dakota’s 66 counties are closed Thursday as the National Weather Service warns of blizzard and winter-storm conditions a day after a massive late-winter storm hit Colorado.

Gov. Kristi Noem says only essential personnel in the affected state offices should go to work.

Heavy rain has caused flooding in southern and eastern South Dakota, with water covering some roads and highways. Rain and melting snow have caused similar conditions in Iowa.

The weather is barreling into the Midwest after causing widespread power outages Wednesday in Colorado, where a blizzard forced the cancellation of hundreds of flights and wreaked havoc on roadways as drivers became overwhelmed by blinding snow.

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12 a.m.

National Guard troops were using specialized vehicles with tank-like treads to rescue stranded drivers in Colorado in the wake of a massive late-winter storm that’s expected to unleash heavy rain and snow on the Midwest plains Thursday.

Wednesday’s blizzard cut power to tens of thousands of homes and businesses, caused hundreds of flights to be canceled and wreaked havoc on roadways. A wind gust clocked in at 97 mph (156 kph) in Colorado Springs.

The storm also contributed to the death of Corporal Daniel Groves, a Colorado State Patrol officer who was hit and killed by a car as he was helping another driver who slid off Interstate 76 near Denver.

Blizzards, floods and a tornado were reported across more than 25 states, stretching from the northern Rockies to Texas and beyond.