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Winter Flooding Takes Farmer's Life

And at least 2 other people are missing
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 16, 2019 2:00 PM CDT
Horses belonging are boarded in Inglewood, Neb., in Fremont Neb. on Friday, March 15, 2019.   (Kent Sievers/Omaha World-Herald via AP)
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(Newser) – Authorities were using boats and large vehicles on Saturday to rescue and evacuate residents in parts of the Midwest where a recent deluge of rainwater and snowmelt was sent pouring over frozen ground, overwhelming creeks and rivers, and killing at least one person, the AP reports. Rescue efforts in eastern Nebraska were hampered by reports of levee breaches and washouts of bridges and roads, including part of Nebraska Highway 92, leading in and out of southwest Omaha. Authorities confirmed that a bridge on that highway that crosses the Elkhorn River had been washed out Saturday. In Freemont, west of Omaha, the Dodge County Sheriff's Office issued a mandatory evacuation for some residents after floodwaters broke through a levee along the Platte River.

And in Mills County, Iowa, authorities ordered people in some rural areas to evacuate after the Missouri River overtopped levees. The flooding followed days of snow and rain—record-setting, in some places—that swept through the West and Midwest. The deluge pushed some waterways to record levels in Nebraska, South Dakota, Iowa, and Minnesota. The flooding was the worst in nearly a decade in places. The family of farmer James Wilke, 50, of Columbus, Nebraska, said he was killed Thursday when a bridge collapsed as he was using his tractor to try to reach stranded motorists on Thursday, per the Columbus Telegram. At least two other people were missing in floodwaters in Nebraska.

(Read more flooding stories.)

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