LOUP CITY, Neb. — In the 47 years that Mike Kaminski’s dad, Darrell, has lived on the family’s farm along the west side of the Middle Loup River south of Loup City, an area of sandy hills 6 to 8 feet high along the river never had flooded.

Not when heavy, wet snow melted.

Not when 5 to 6 inches of rain fell.

Not until this month.

That’s when the combination of melting snow, 2 inches of rain and still-frozen ground produced runoff that caused the river to roar out of its banks, carrying away huge chunks of ice, trees and 80 head — 40 cow-calf pairs — of Mike Kaminski’s cattle.

“We would have never put our cows there if the water had ever been there in 47 years,” he said.