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2019 Central U.S. Historic Flood Event Highlights


Historic flooding has severely impacted several states in the central U.S. causing extensive damage and economic loss to homes, roads, infrastructure and the agricultural community. The Nebraska Emergency Management Association is calling the state's flooding "historically catastrophic."  Approximately 50 gauged locations have reached or forecast to rise into Major Flood Stage.  Preliminary number of river stages reaching records is 44.



Preliminary total of 4 flood-related fatalities in Central Region over the past week. Two people remain missing.


  • Fatality occurred when a 80 year old woman was trapped in her home and was unable to be rescued.
  • Fatality occurred when farmer near Columbus Nebraska drove tractor over a bridge that gave way in flood waters.


  • One flood fatality was confirmed in Fremont County (Iowa) due to vehicle being flooded


  • One flood fatality confirmed near Fort Scott in Bourbon County, KS due to vehicle being flooded.


  • In Nebraska, 112 water rescues have occurred with 13 animal rescues completed.
  • Approximately 1200 evacuations occurred in Nebraska and Wisconsin alone.
  • Aerial footage indicated thousands of flooded structures across eastern Nebraska and western Iowa before water receded. 
  • Several communities, including Valley and Fremont, NE were cut-off from the rest of the state for a time due to flooded roads.
  • About one-third of Offutt Air Force Base base was flooded,
  • Nebraska Farm Bureau estimates Agriculture losses will top $1 Billion, with over $400 million of those losses for livestock producers.
  • Evacuations in many Nebraska, Missouri and Iowa Counties occurred. 
  • Tribal communities impacted include the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska, the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska, the Santee Sioux of Nebraska, and the Omaha Tribe of Nebraska and Iowa  Rosebud Sioux Tribe declared a state of emergency due to flooding danger in their communities.
  • Many federal/country/state roads across central and northeast Nebraska remain closed due to extensive flooding.  Stretch of Interstate 29 south of Omaha, NE remains closed.
  • Many levee systems were breached or overtopped. Levees down-river in Missouri continue to be strained with additional evacuations due to expected levee failures ongoing.
  • Many bridges that were not damaged or destroyed across the impacted areas remain closed to ensure structural engineers can examine their integrity.
  • Shelters opened at some point in the event included 9 in Nebraska, 4 in Iowa, 3 in Wisconsin.
  • The State of Nebraska reports that 18 School Districts closed due to the flooding.
  • Iowa and Wisconsin have issued state emergency declarations.  
  • 85 Cities, 74 Counties, and 4 Tribal areas in Nebraska have made disaster declarations. The state of Iowa has declared a disaster for all 99 of their counties, the state of Wisconsin has also declared. Three counties have declared a disaster in Missouri so far.
  • Iowa Governor “It looked like an ocean”, after viewing the impacts over the state of Iowa from record flooding.
  • Mayor of Fargo, ND has declared a state of emergency to enable flood-fighting efforts as the city prepares for potential Red River flooding.
  • National Weather Service Forecast Offices and River Forecast Centers providing continual decision support services to local, state and regional agencies and partners.