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The Latest: Pence to survey Nebraska flood damage Tuesday
March 19, 2019
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Latest on flooding in the Midwest (all times local):
Vice President Mike Pence will travel to Nebraska to survey damage from flooding in the Midwest.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders tweeted that President Donald Trump requested Pence go Tuesday to the Midwest to see the damage.
Sanders says Pence will be joined by Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts and Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds.
The tweet did not say where in Nebraska Pence would go.
North Dakota’s largest city has declared an emergency and Fargo Mayor Tim Mahoney is asking residents to help fill 1 million sandbags as the city prepares for major Red River flooding.
The National Weather Service says “significant” snowmelt flooding is likely this spring in the Red River Valley after last week’s massive late-winter storm in the Midwest. The chance the river will reach major flood stage in Fargo has increased from 50 percent to 90 percent.
The neighboring cities of Fargo and Moorhead, Minnesota, experienced a record flood 10 years ago. The two cities have implemented several measures such as home buyouts and levees since then.
But Mahoney says there are still areas that could be vulnerable. Sandbag-filling operations begin March 26.
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An Illinois town is bracing for potentially the worst flooding it has seen in at least a half-century.
Freeport City Manager Lowell Crow says the town of 25,000 residents west of Rockford could see an all-time record flood along the Pecatonica River. At best, the water level will get to its highest level in 50 years.
Several Illinois towns face flooding from the late-winter deluge that has ravaged several Midwestern states. National Weather Service readings show major flooding along the Pecatonica River at Shirland, Illinois, and along the Rock River in Moline and the Rockford area.
The late-winter flood has compromised about 200 miles of Missouri River levees in four Midwestern states.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says levees that have been topped or breached in Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri and Kansas contributed to the flooding that has forced hundreds of people from their homes. Three deaths have been blamed on floodwaters, and two men in Nebraska have been missing since Thursday.
The National Weather Service says river levels have topped off along the Missouri River at Omaha, Nebraska, as well as at several Missouri River tributaries in Nebraska.
High flows and water levels remain throughout the river basin south of Sioux City, Iowa.
Authorities say an 80-year-old woman has died in her flooded Nebraska home after authorities couldn’t reach her.
The Platte County Sheriff’s Office announced the death of Betty Hamernik on Monday. The Omaha World-Herald reports that officials learned Thursday that she was trapped in her house by the flooding Loup River.
The sheriff’s report says rescuers from a Lincoln search team were unable to get to Hamernik because of the fast current, high waves and wind gusts of 60 mph. A team from the Nebraska National Guard attempted to rescue Hamernik by air on Friday morning.
After several attempts, crew members discovered that Hamernik had died. But they still were unable to get in the house. A dive team recovered her body Saturday.
Hundreds of homes have flooded in northwest Missouri after the Missouri River overtopped and breached several levees following heavy rain and snowmelt upstream.
Holt County Emergency Management Director Tom Bullock said Monday that many homes are inundated with 6 to 7 feet (1.8 to 2.1 meters) of water. He says one couple was rescued in a helicopter.
Residents in parts of southwest Iowa were forced from their homes Sunday because of the flooded river, which has also displaced hundreds of people in Nebraska after a massive late-winter storm hit the Midwest last week.
The Missouri Department of Transportation reports about 100 flood-related road closures.
The National Weather Service says the river should crest Thursday in St. Joseph, Missouri, at its third-highest level on record. Military C-130 planes were evacuated last week from nearby Rosecrans Air National Guard base.
Check out the AP’s complete story on flooding.