A powerful, late-winter “bomb cyclone” storm has bombarded the Rocky Mountain and Plains states with blizzards, floods and tornados, and prompted precautions at a Nebraska nuclear power plant. There has been a disaster proclamation issued for Iowa by Governor Kim Reynolds, after reports of flooding. Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts also issued an emergency declaration after rivers swollen by rain and dam breaches left many bridges and roads impassable and triggered the evacuation of thousands of residents.
The National Weather Service (NWS) issued a statement today (Friday) saying: ”Widespread and extremely dangerous flooding will continue today and tonight.”
Many streams will see moderate to major flooding through the weekend, the service added, and flooding along the Missouri River will continue into next week.
The Nebraska Public Power District declared an “unusual event” at its Cooper Nuclear Station power plant on Friday, with the possibility of flooding along the Missouri River.
Workers filled sandbags along the river levee and used other materials for flood protection, the power agency said.
It said the plant continued to operate safely and there was no threat to plant employees or to the public.
Which areas are affected in Nebraska?
According to the NWS, flood warnings continue for the following rivers in Nebraska:
- Platte River Near Grand Island Affecting Hamilton…Hall and Merrick Counties
- South Loup River Near Ravenna Affecting Buffalo County
- Wood River Near Gibbon Affecting Buffalo County
- Wood River Near Alda Affecting Hall County
- South Loup River At Saint Michael Affecting Buffalo…Hall and Howard Counties
According to the NWS, “the low-pressure system which brought blizzard conditions, heavy rainfall, and severe weather to parts of the Plains and Midwest this week has pushed well into Canada this morning.”
There will be showers and thunderstorms along the cold front as it tracks through the East today, with showers also lingering along the Gulf Coast and Florida into Sunday.
Another warm day is in store for the East, but temperatures are forecast to return to near or below normal values this weekend following the cold frontal passage.
Gusty winds may continue into Friday across parts of the Ohio Valley and Great Lakes, with mainly light rain or snow showers also possible through Saturday as another weaker cold front passes through.
Moderate to major river flooding across parts of the Mississippi and Missouri river valleys may also persist into the weekend.
The NWS has warned residents that flash flooding can be deadly and has issued warnings and advice for those who live in affected areas.
The weather service warns: “Move to higher ground now.
“This is an extremely dangerous and life-threatening situation.
“Do not attempt to travel unless you are fleeing an area subject to flooding or under an evacuation order.
“Turn around, don’t drown when encountering flooded roads. Most flood deaths occur in vehicles.”