People grabbed their pets and important papers and fled homes in eastern Nebraska and in Iowa on Wednesday as rising streams spilled into low-lying areas and levees broke.
The misery will continue Thursday as more rain falls and creeks continue to rise. Added to the potent mix Thursday will be powerful winds capable of downing power lines and toppling trees weakened by water-logged soils.
It may be days before the full magnitude of the massive storm’s damage is known. Western Nebraska was crippled by one of its worst blizzards in years. In eastern Nebraska, where it was much warmer, rain washing off frozen ground has caused flooding that could reach historic levels, the National Weather Service has warned.
“This is going to be a prolonged event,” said Bryan Tuma, assistant director of the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency.