Governor Pete Ricketts and a group of state officials flew over the flooded areas of Nebraska today up the Platte, Loup and Elkhorn Rivers, and gave an assessment after landing.

“I saw livestock stranded on sandbars, we’ve seen fields that were flooded, just a lot of devastation out there,” said Ricketts.

Ricketts expressed one major request to the general public: “There’s still many roads that are covered. We saw a lot of county roads that had water on them, [as well as] Hwy 30, Hwy 275, Hwy 81, all these highways had water on them at different parts of them. So what we want to stress is, if you do not have to travel, please do not travel. And if you do see water on a roadway, do not try to drive through it. We have had people go missing because of driving through roadways and their cars getting swept off.”

Right now, the only east-west route from Nebraska to Iowa or Missouri is Interstate 80. Major highways and most county roads have stretches closed because of high water.

Speaker of the Legislature Jim Scheer, whose home city, Norfolk, is returning after flood evacuations, was clearly stunned by the flooding saying: “It’s just so widespread. I mean, the Elkhorn River literally is miles wide. So it’s going to be a long haul for a lot of the communities along the rivers.”

Nebraska Emergency Management Agency Spokesman Brian Tuma said many of those flooded communities are beginning to have infrastructure problems: “Things like water systems, water treatment facilities…we’re seeing some water main breaks, people are struggling to have potable water in some communities and so we’re making arrangements to get those types of issues addressed.”

National Guard Major General Daryl Bohac said three Guard Helicopters have been busy with rescuing stranded people; 37 last night: “One of our helicopters [was] conducting [a] hoist operation, lifting three people off a roof of a house that’s been completely surrounded and they have no ability to get out.”

Gov. Ricketts added: “The amount of water that’s flowing is just stunning. It was hard to know where the channel of the Platte was at times, it was hard to know where the channel of the Elkhorn was. I mean, the Elkhorn looked like the Missouri River. [We saw] cattle that were stranded on sandbars, we saw levees that were broken; we probably have the most widespread flooding devastation that we have had in at least the last half century.”

Many areas of Nebraska have had  evacuations, including:

  • Beemer
  • Belgrade
  • Cedar Rapids
  • Dannebrog
  • Genoa
  • Inglewood
  • Randolph
  • Northern Butler County
  • Eastern Richardson County
  • Pender
  • Broken Bow
  • Linoma Beach
  • Norfolk
  • Fremont
  • Anselmo
  • Lynch
  • Wisner
  • South Bend
  • Louisville
  • Cedar Creek
  • Plattsmouth
  • Eastern Washington County
  • Pleasanton
  • Bucaneer Bay
  • Valley
  • Sarpy County
  • West Point

If you or someone you know is in need of shelter, Red Cross has established shelters in the following locations:

  • Council Bluffs, Iowa (Salem United Methodist Church, 14955 Somerset Avenue)
  • Bellwood, Nebraska (Bellwood Fire Department, 752 41 Road)
  • Boelus, Nebraska (CNR Center, 614 Delaware Street)
  • Columbus, Nebraska (DHS- East Central Health Department, 4321 41st Avenue)
  • Fremont, Nebraska (First Lutheran Church, 3200 Military Avenue; enter Mission Center on NW corner of campus)
  • Hadar, Nebraska (Hadar Fire Hall, 101 Front Street)
  • Missouri Valley, Nebraska (Rand Community Center, 100 S. 4th Street)
  • Norfolk, Nebraska (Lutheran High Northeast, 2010 N. 37th Street)
  • Norfolk, Nebraska (Bel Air Elementary School, 1101 N. 18th Street)
  • Norfolk, Nebraska (Sacred Heart Elementary School, 2301 Madison Avenue)
  • North Loup, Nebraska (North Loup Community Center, 112 S. B Street)
  • Pierce, Nebraska (Pierce Fire Department, 106 1st Street)
  • Plattsmouth, Nebraska (Plattsmouth Community Center, 308 S. 18th Street)
  • Randolph, Nebraska (Randolph City Auditorium, 119 N. Main Street)
  • St. Edward, Nebraska (St. Edward City Hall, 1302 State Highway 39)