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Flooding hit Nebraska hard one year ago: Here's what happened on March 15 last year

Flooding hit Nebraska hard one year ago: Here's what happened on March 15 last year

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On this day — March 15, 2019

As flooding moved eastward across Nebraska and western Iowa, first responders continued rescues by airboat, helicopter and high-water vehicles. Water swallowed roads, and cities like Fremont and Valley became virtual islands, with no way in or out.

  • The State Patrol, the Nebraska National Guard and Urban Search and Rescue Nebraska Task Force 1 conduct water rescues through the night and day. More rescues are conducted on the local level, too.
  • Cooper Nuclear Station near Brownville in southeast Nebraska declares a “Notification of Unusual Event” at 5:46 a.m. as the Missouri River continues to rise.
  • The Union Dike protecting the Valley area fails. A 300-foot-wide breach occurs in the early morning just north of the Dodge/Douglas County line on Western Sand and Gravel property. Floodwaters head downstream along the Union Pacific Railroad toward Valley, and the city becomes inaccessible. The National Weather Service office there evacuates.
  • In Sarpy County, portions of the R613 levee north and south of the Papillion Creek are overtopped by floodwaters from the Platte and Missouri Rivers. The wastewater treatment plant is shut down. High water flows toward Offutt Air Force Base and Bellevue.
  • Voluntary and mandatory evacuations occur in Valley, Waterloo and parts of Bellevue and Fremont.
  • Roads to Fremont are cut off — the city becomes an island.
  • Norfolk resident Aleido Rojas Galan, 55, dies in Fremont County, Iowa, after his car drives by a barrier into floodwaters.
  • A large stretch of Interstate 29 south of Council Bluffs closes.

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Reporter - Education

Erin is an enterprise reporter for the World-Herald. Previously, Erin covered education. Follow her on Twitter @eduff88. Phone: 402-444-1210.

Related to this story

The floods of 2019 have left hundreds of aircraft maintainers working in Offutt Air Force Base’s two largest hangars without hot water or toilets. For a year, that has been an unpleasant inconvenience. Now, with the coronavirus pandemic making frequent hand-washing necessary, some fear that the situation could be a hazard to their health.

  • Updated

It’s not yet known how extensive — or expensive — the renovation project will be. It is certain that the renovation will encompass a lot of work on the building’s interior infrastructure. The electrical wiring, plumbing, heating/air conditioning, and communications systems all need major work.

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