Governor Pete Ricketts and other state officials gave updates on current conditions and resources available for those effected by the blizzard or flooding.
Rickets underscored the seriousness of the weather damage. “This is probably a historical event in Nebraska, with regard to the severe weather.” The Governor added that it has been the worst calving season in memory for ranchers.
3 people are missing, one dam and one bridge destroyed, and numerous roads damaged throughout Nebraska. Rickets told reporters Thursday that the public can help in one major way, “do not travel, in the panhandle, all of the state maintained roads, are closed.”
Nebraska Emergency Management Spokesman Brian Tuma said the weather emergency is all over the state. “We are up to 23 county declarations, and 19 city declarations of emergency, effected by the blizzard and the flooding.”
Tuma added that the flooding is far from over. “We have snow melting, moisture will continue to be entering our waterways, the flooding is not over.”
Major General Daryl Bohac with the National Guard said Guard personnel have been helping with two evacuation operations, “one in Norfolk, and now one in Genoa with high wheeled vehicles along with soldiers to transport those isolated and medically compromised.” Bohac added the Guard is standing by with helicopters in case rapid evacuation is needed.
State Transportation Department Director Kyle Schneweis said their crews have been working long hours to keep roads open. “We have 600 trucks and about 1000 people trying to fight this storm.” Schneweis added there has been significant resources used to aid in any way needed.
State Patrol Colonel John Bolduc said he is amazed about the amount of service calls the Patrol has handled. Only 200 calls for service and 12 accidents during the current blizzard. “What makes that remarkable, is compared to the blizzard a few weeks ago, over 300 accidents and that was a small blizzard. What that tells us is that Nebraskans are using common sense.”
The message talked about the most was the importance of not travelling.