Midwest Flooding: Waters Receding

Offutt Air Base in Omaha had to move planes to Lincoln as the runways flooded. Side note: I was born there and pretty sure my blood runs Air Force Blue.

My brother and niece were stranded here. They came out for spring break and then the town they and my parents live in became an island as the Loup flooded and many levies broke. (The farmer who died when the bridge washed out is from there, too)

My sister-in-law is a nurse and couldn’t get to work because all roads out of town were underwater. She finally made it to work through a three-hour route (she’s twenty minutes from it normally) and my brother made it home yesterday with just a few long, out of the way roads.

More roads are opening up, but many highways are with escorts only.

The Nebraska State Patrol is posting some great photos. Here are their animal rescues:

Image may contain: dog, tree, outdoor, water and nature

He seems to be enjoying the boat ride.


Image may contain: one or more people, people sitting, outdoor, water and nature

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You’ve come to save me? I love you.

And this haunting photo was not far from where my parents (who are thankfully dry  – even though they live next to a levy):

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The little town of Genoa had to completely evacuate. This is one of their bridges.

Here’s the Governor flyover video:

I know we have some Nebraska and Iowa jackals, are you all okay? Anyone at risk as all this water moves downstream?

But you know…climate change is a liberal conspiracy.


69 replies
  1. 1
    trollhattan says:

    Living in the 100-year zone on the flood map and a stone’s throw from not one but two rivers, images like those never fail to chill. Here’s hoping folks and their critters at least escaped.

  2. 2

    If we really have a military coup I have every reason to think it’s not going to be on trump’s orders to hunt down Dems, but the generals are gonna arrest every climate change denier in Congress. Half of them are looking at the damage getting done to their flooded bases and gotta be thinking “there’s not enough money even in OUR budgets to fix all this shit.”

  3. 3
    Stephanie Eleanor Leah Avebury says:

    I’m not sure how to do this. I am a long time reader but don’t think I’ve commented much.

    My neighbor moved out and left the apartment and her cat, Izzy with her son. He is always locked out. Even when it was 20 degrees out and we had over a foot of snow. He has been mostly staying with me. He comes in the cat door. The problem is that I have 3 cats in a tiny apartment. I’m also on disability and can’t afford to care for him. He technically has an owner somewhere so I’m not sure what to do. Any advice would be appreciated. I just can’t leave him out there.

  4. 4
    Ninedragonspot says:

    Fortunately my Nebraska kinfolk are all warm and dry. A couple friends had minor flooding. The rain actually cleared the snow off of Lincoln’s streets.

  5. 5

    I think this is the railroad bridge just outside my family’s town. For awhile there was concern the ice dams were going to take a section of it out.

  6. 6
    cckids says:

    *Reposting this from the last thread.
    I grew up in central NE, and the stuff being posted on FB is heartbreaking, no matter the politics of the people. And it started last Tuesday, really hit on Weds., and continues, while pretty much no national media noticed until Saturday/Sunday. Of course, no mentions from DT at all, even though they are definitely “his” people. Even Offutt Air Force Base is underwater; they evacuated the planes.

    Most of the images I’ve seen are from FB, taken & posted by the people on the scene, I’m not sure if they’re linkable here. The videos of the ice on what are usually small rivers are horrifying. Huge, SUV-size chunks of ice, the river way, WAY out of it’s banks, taking out multiple bridges & roads. And, of course, it is calving season. A cousin posted her neighbors got back out as soon as possible (like, Friday), and 30 – THIRTY- calves had been born, and died, in those three days; they drowned or froze. Another person whose house was inundated came back and there are basketball-sized chunks of ice all over the house; up to the kitchen counters. It’s hard to describe the extent of this event; over half of NE, from Kansas up to and into South Dakota.

  7. 7
    FlyingToaster says:

    I still have plenty of family downriver, but nobody has been willing to live within a mile of the Missouri since 1951. My dad was in fishing waders pushing airplanes out of the muck, his parents’ house got flooded (and they moved thereafter), and we were taught to learn about floodplains.

    He’d think I’m crazy to live two blocks from the Charles, but honestly, I’m 25 feet uphill and it’s not going to make it this high for decades.

  8. 8
    BroD says:

    This is a real national emergency.

  9. 9
    trollhattan says:

    A few paper towel rolls will mop that mess right up.

  10. 10
    A Ghost To Most says:

    I was stationed at Offutt for 3.5 years. It never occurred to me that it could flood.

    5641′ makes more sense all the time.

  11. 11
    cckids says:

    A couple of pics

    #1:These ice chunks came floating down the Platte.

    #2: Trying to take care of the cows.

  12. 12
    boatboy_srq says:

    Some genius in NE got me on Adrian Smith’s and Ben Sasse’s emailing lists in some fashion so perpetual I can’t even call to tell them someone in their world can’t spell for shyte and put down the wrong email addy. It’s [rarely, but] occasionally useful to see the propaganda being offered up by the Reichwing.

    This week? The last peep from either of them, in the face of unprecedented flooding impacting nearly every single one of their constituents, was about….

    … wait for it…


    Someone please tell me NE voters aren’t going to sit still for this.

  13. 13
    Barbara says:

    Water is just so devastating.

  14. 14
    Betty Cracker says:

    My uncle and aunt have a farm on the Platte in Nebraska. Uncle told me this weekend the damage is severe and recovery will take at least a year. Just a terrible situation.

    I love the photos of those rescued dogs, especially that jowly fellow up top. It’s interesting how evacuation rules have evolved to accommodate pets. Authorities have learned people won’t leave without their critters.

  15. 15
    Mart says:

    @cckids: I was driving across NE election night. Was listening to a replay of morning shock jocks on the radio out of Omaha. They were saying what a piece of shit Trump was, how he could not win, and what a disaster of he did somehow win. Took some of the sting out of the idiot being named winner. They are not all his people.

    What an awful disaster. I never heard of a cyclonic bomb before…

  16. 16
    Barbara says:

    @Betty Cracker: The stories from Katrina were heartrending. Going through something like this is already traumatic (look at the face of that man in the boat hugging his golden) but being forced to choose between safety and a beloved pet takes the trauma to another level.

  17. 17
    joel hanes says:

    It’s not nice to fool [yourself about] Mother Nature.

    She bats last.

  18. 18
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    Heard an interview on NPR earlier today with the Governor of Nebraska, and was astonished to learn that the state has more miles of riverways than any other state. A useful tidbit to pack away for some future pub quiz or game of Trivial Pursuit.

    Apparently Nebraska is fairly used to coping with one or two of their rivers flooding periodically. But this time, it’s all (of most of, or many of) the rivers simultaneously. And how the hell do you prepare for that?

  19. 19
    Redshift says:

    @boatboy_srq: Whichever staffer is running Sasse’s Twitter account seems to have more of a clue than the ones running his email list, then, because there’s quite a bit posted there. With quite a few responses taking him to task about climate change, too.

  20. 20
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Barbara: True. I’ve been in the path of hurricanes all my life, and luckily, I’ve always found safe haven for myself and my critters among family and friends. I can’t imagine being forced to leave animals behind and can readily understand why people decide to take the risk rather than leaving their pets. No one should have to make that choice.

    If someone hasn’t already thought of it, it might be a good thing to have an app that connects evacuees with people who are willing to shelter pets during an emergency. Not sure it would work — I can think of all sorts of liabilities that could occur.

  21. 21
    Baud says:



    @Betty Cracker:

    I couldn’t do it. Maybe if I had to choose between them and my kids, but I don’t have kids.

  22. 22
    Emma says:

    @Betty Cracker: One of the reasons we got hurricane windows and went over code on the roof hooks was that there is no way in hell my 85 year old father would leave his 13-year-old schnoodle behind. Neither would I for that matter.

  23. 23
    Steve in the ATL says:

    Did I read this post correctly (May have had a couple glasses of wine on the plane) that someone went to Nebraska for spring break?

  24. 24
    Duane says:

    @FlyingToaster: It’s a good thing we don’t treat flooding like gun control. Nothing we can do, not my fault, thoughts, prayers, etc…
    At least not yet but hey, freedumb.

  25. 25
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    Apologies to Rodgers & Hammerstein, to the tune of “Carefully Taught,” from South Pacific:

    They’ve got to be tossed
    To soak and mop;
    They’ve got to be tossed
    To sponge each drop;
    They’ve got to be thrown at your dud little flood —
    They’ve got to be carefully tossed.

    They’ve got to be tossed
    Because Trump dotes
    On people who gave him
    Many votes
    (He only can visit them
    In small boats —
    The towels are carefully tossed).

    The towels are tossed
    With accuracy,
    With skill and precision
    (Like Trump larceny):
    “To soak all the people
    Who voted for me,
    These towels are carefully tossed.
    These towels are carefully tossed.”

  26. 26
    mrmoshpotato says:

    I thought it was a Chinese hoax, or has it become a CHINESE HOAX WITCH HUNT?


    Our species still isn’t living up to deserving doggos.

  27. 27
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Steve in the ATL:

    Did I read this post correctly (May have had a couple glasses of wine on the plane) that someone went to Nebraska for spring break?

    I believe they went FROM Nebraska TO Colorado for spring break. TaMara will correct me if I read it wrong.

  28. 28
    piratedan says:

    a small, petty part of me wants to let the political representatives whose constituencies are comprised of the residents of Hurricane Sandy and Maria determine if the folks of Nebraska are worthy of our tax dollars to rebuild.

  29. 29
    Jay says:


    The tallgrass Plains of Saskatchewan and Manitoba were dotted with hundreds of thousands of pothole lakes and ponds at time of settlement.

    As farming became mechanized the farmers filled in the pothole lakes and ponds to straighten out their plow lines and add a few acres. They dug deep ditches to drain away the spring melt.

    Then the ducks and geese disappeared.

    50 year flood events started happening downstream every 10 years because water that would lay on the land in the potholes and ponds, all summer, would race through the ditches to the rivers.

    The Government built dikes to control the flooding, but the dikes would get topped or breached. Eventually, after repeat destruction, the Government built flood control to protect Winnipeg by building a massive dam and bypass, which protected the City, but drowned everbody upstream and downsteam instead. Farmers who rebuilt brought in gravel, rocks and concrete so that their homes and barns sat on artificial islands.

    Flooding events in the ‘90’s and ‘Aughts topped past events, didn’t protect Winnipeg and washed millions of acres of topsoil away forever.

    As farm after farm in Saskatchewan and Manitoba failed and farmland in those two Provinces became dirt cheap, a “new type” of farmer moved in, put the pothole lakes and ponds back, filled in the ditches, and restored the tallgrass prairie to the verge.

  30. 30
    SiubhanDuinne says:



    Inorite? I had to check it out on the googlepedia. Seems to be quite true. I had no idea.

  31. 31
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    Fascinating. I spent the better part of a year in Saskatchewan as a kid, but never learned any of that. Thanks.

  32. 32
    Dan B says:

    Jet Stream is still way out of whack, far south of Phoenix and angling up across the Ohio River valley. This may allow more arctic air an avenue to enter the lower midwest. I hope the forecast is for drying out in all the areas that are affected and all the areas about to be affected. Very little rain in the US at the moment fortunately. Years like this will be the new (ab)normal.

    At least the nuclear reactor doesn’t seemed to have leaked.

  33. 33
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Dan B:

    At least the nuclear reactor doesn’t seemed to have leaked.

    A bit O/T, but I don’t think I’ve seen Cheryl Rofer around here for a while as a commenter, let alone as a front-pager. Cheryl, if you’re reading this (or even if you aren’t) I hope you are well. Miss seeing your commentary and wise take on any number of urgent issues.

  34. 34
    donnah says:

    My good friends in Valley are okay, but they’re like an island on their farm. The water reached within twenty feet of their barn, then receded. But their friends closer to town had to evacuate and their community theater was flooded. it’s a close community and it’s heartbreaking to see this happen.

  35. 35
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: oh thank god. That was the most depressing thing I’d ever read—Dostoyevsky couldn’t have imagined that horror!

  36. 36
    Ruckus says:

    When I lived in OH I lived about 1/4 mile from a flood plain from a reasonably major river. OH is so flat that a slight rise of less than 10 ft meant the difference between flood and no problems.

  37. 37
    Baud says:


    When I lived in OH I lived about 1/4 mile from a flood plain from a reasonably major river.

    The Ohio River?

  38. 38
    Gravenstone says:

    @Ruckus: NW Ohio, where I’m from (and NE Indiana) typically have significant flooding early spring because of the larger rivers running through the area (St. Joseph, St. Mary and Maumee). You’re right that a little above the flood level goes a very long way.

  39. 39
    raven says:

    Cheryl Rofer Retweeted

    Patrick Howell O’Neill

    Verified account

    3h3 hours ago
    I want to learn more about how foreign money flows into Silicon Valley. Seems like, with few exceptions, it’s an opaque river from sovereign and individual wealth into the VCs and companies here. I would love to talk to anyone with insight into this world. DMs are open.

  40. 40
    Steeplejack says:


    I saw her post on Twitter in the last day or so.

  41. 41
    Ohio Mom says:

    @Jay: I read somewhere that what is ultimately keeping everything in business — by that I mean all of human civilization — is six inches of topsoil and rain from the sky.

    It takes eons for top soil to develop, people are good at destroying it in short order.

  42. 42
    chris says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: I looked last week. Cheryl got chewed up by some commenters (24FEB IIRC) and hasn’t been seen since. Can’t say that I blame her.

  43. 43
    susanna says:

    @Stephanie Eleanor Leah Avebury: Stephanie, very sorry for your dilemma, though heartened by your generous spirit which the cat must appreciate.
    At some point, the cat needs to have a permanent home and yours doesn’t sound doable. So call a veterinary office to find out options of where he/she can go. I wasn’t clear whether the neighbor is permanently gone, whether her son isn’t a feline lover, but unless you want cat#4, this isn’t your responsibility. And don’t feel badly as your own need you, so you’re doing good.

  44. 44
    Ohio Mom says:

    @Ruckus: We discussed this the other day. *Parts* of Ohio are indeed hilly — the eastern and southeastern areas.

    Did you live in Columbus? It IS flat around there.

  45. 45
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    Oh, no! Whatever it was, I must have missed that. What a shame — she is so bright and knowledgeable and logical that we really need her unique perspective. I hope she comes back. It’s disheartening, the number of really valuable commenters and FPs who have been run off by hatefulness (Imani/ABL, EllaEsther, asiangrrlmn, to name but a few).

  46. 46

    @Steve in the ATL: No Steve, they came to visit me…in Colorado.

  47. 47
    Ohio Mom says:

    @chris: @SiubhanDuinne:
    Cheryl is listed under “Contact a Front Pager” (which can be found using the search magnifying glass). Maybe you could write her and say we miss her?

    I don’t remember ever seeing a 24FEB but my attendance here has been spotty as late — too much going on IRL.

  48. 48
    Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho says:

    @Steve in the ATL: Don’t feel bad. I had to read it twice and I haven’t had any glasses of wine because I have a 67 page protocol to read with another 48 pages of exhibits to it. Thoughtful of the team lead to send it Sunday night for a 1PM videoconference training when I had a 9:30 neurology appointment this morning *which I told her about Friday.*

  49. 49
    Jay says:

    @Ohio Mom:

    With proper soil management techniques a farm can add up to 8 inches of topsoil a year.

    One of my neighbors need help after a decade of grazing had wounded his land. The first thing we did was replant trees in his fields. Shade grown grasses have 90% more protein than those in full sun. As protein is the goal in cattle ranching it means more meat for less feed. It justs makes the haying a tiny bit more of a pain. It was also a great excuse for me to buy a tree planter. I can transplant trees up to 30feet tall now with ease.

    The second thing we did was cross fence and put back the verges. Now he has a lot more wildlife, “volenteer” farmers and soil builders like worms and voles. He can better manage the grazing by moving the cattle around and let some areas go fallow.

    The third thing we did was add in a host of native plants like violets, lambs ear and mullen. Some hugely reduce the methane emissions of the cattle, others are like a vitamin shot, some have medicine effects.

    It took less than 5 years to heal his land, restore some wildlife spaces, and heal his herd.

  50. 50
    debbie says:


    I cried through most of this Independent Lens documentary about Katrina victims’ efforts to get their pets back. Sad to say, a few rescuers were pretty heartless.

  51. 51
    Kelly says:

    We live 50 feet above a 4 foot deep, 200 foot wide river. It’d be a mile wide by the time it rose to our house. Our house is built atop a very old landslide so an earthquake could move us to the water’s edge.

  52. 52
    debbie says:

    @Ohio Mom:

    Gahanna, I think. There’s still spot flooding all around here. The West Side was the worst for flooding on an almost annual basis until they put in flood gates.

  53. 53
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @TaMara (HFG): much better!

    Also, have you watched “Walk. Ride. Rodeo.” yet? Has a bit of a Lifetime/Hallmark vibe to it, but includes scenes of a shirtless Bailey Chase! (Thought wife would be excited but she said “eh, I’ve seen him naked”. I said, “not recently, I trust?” She said, “whatever you want to believe…” j/k it was back in boarding school. And Bailey is just the nicest guy ever. And golden retriever lover!).

  54. 54
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    Thanks, raven. Glad to know she hasn’t gone all hermit, but sad that she has evidently decided to distance herself from BJ. Hope it’s temporary.

  55. 55
    Jharp says:


    Interesting geography lesson about northwest Ohio and northeast Indiana.

    The St Mary’s and the St Joseph’s rivers flow from the east to the west where they meet in Fort Wayne Indiana to form the Maumee River that then flows west to east and empties into lake Erie in Toledo Ohio.

  56. 56
    raven says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: I’m surprised Adam sticks around with some of these douchebags.

  57. 57
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Ohio Mom:

    Cheryl is listed under “Contact a Front Pager” (which can be found using the search magnifying glass). Maybe you could write her and say we miss her?

    Alas, none of that works for me and hasn’t for months, Maybe a year or more (iPhone, Safari). I said it in a comment, and hope she’s lurk-reading.

  58. 58
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    I’m actually kind of surprised any of us sticks around, the way some posts devolve into pure abuse-fests. Some enterprising soul should try to coordinate those fuckthreads with the phases of the moon or something.

  59. 59
    raven says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: The market place of ideas.

  60. 60
    joel hanes says:


    You’re my kind of farmer. Bless you.

  61. 61
    joel hanes says:


    When I feel either my gorge or my dander rising, I go do something else, and try never to go back to that thread.

    A day or two later, most of the ripples will have exhausted themselves, and I can come back to Balloon Juice.

  62. 62
    Ohio Mom says:

    @Jay: I’m glad to be corrected, I feel more hopeful now, thank you!

  63. 63
    Dan B says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: I’ve noticed as well. I’ll send her an email this week. I hope it’s just a case of burnout, temporary burnout.

  64. 64
    Mathguy says:

    I’m late to this post, but the photos are amazing. I live in Omaha-luckily on higher ground–and am familiar with the area around Offutt, since there is a bike path that runs along the Papio and close to the Missouri on the levee. There’s a sewage treatment plant where the Papio empties into the Missouri that now appears to be a tiny island in the flood photo. The levee there, which appears to be under water, is at least 20 feet above the normal water level. We had some bad flooding in 2011, but this dwarfs that.

  65. 65
    Comrade Colette Collaboratrice says:

    @Stephanie Eleanor Leah Avebury: Stephanie, seconding what @susanna: said, it’s not really your responsibility, but it’s admirable that you’re trying to help – and someone must be pretty hard-hearted to neglect an animal that they know is in distress. Do you know the son to speak to at all? Is it possible to talk to him about Izzy being left out in bad weather, while implying that he either doesn’t know that’s happening or doesn’t understand why it’s bad? I’ve heard people I wouldn’t describe as cruel carelessly say things like “oh, it’s fine, they’ve got fur coats” or “they’re the same as wild cats that live outdoors, they’ll be ok.” He may be genuinely ignorant of cat needs, or just not want to face up to the situation until he’s confronted with it. (Or he may be an ass and you may already know that.)

    Also, are you still in touch with his mother, your former neighbor? Can you ask the son for her contact info – maybe on the pretext that you’d like to catch up with her – and let her know, without blaming, that Izzy is being neglected and you can’t keep feeding him?

    Poor Izzy! Good for you for trying to help.

  66. 66
    Martin says:

    Why do I have a feeling that Nebraska will have a MUCH easier time getting federal disaster funds than California did for our fires.

  67. 67
  68. 68
    Dan B says:

    @Ohio Mom: I’ve managed a fair amount of soil restoration in my career. I was fascinated by the dynamics. Seattle has terribly thin topsoil, usually an inch, often less. We had glaciers scrape it away 11,000 years ago followed by conifer forests that have very few forst floor critters – mammals or bugs. If you plant perennials and small deciduous shrubs the critters show up and some worms / nematodes / etc. That and a few inches of starter mulch and a few shade trees and I’ve had fluffy soil a foot deep in a decade. It does depend upon rainfall and moderate temperatures….

  69. 69
    Jay says:

    @Ohio Mom:

    Unfortunately, you can farm the soil, or you can mine it.

    A lot of farmers and AgriCorps prefer mining.

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