Published: Fri, March 22, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Vice President Pence visits Nebraska to see flooding

Vice President Pence visits Nebraska to see flooding

Floods driven by melting snow in the Dakotas will persist even as Nebraska and Iowa dig out from storms that have killed four people, left one missing and caused more than a billion dollars in damage to crops, livestock and roads.

More than a dozen levees have breached in Missouri, Iowa and Nebraska, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which has handed out hundreds of thousands of sandbags to help with the flood fight.

In light of heavy floods in northwestern Missouri with odds of more to come, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson declared a state of emergency Thursday.

Authorities say continued flooding in the days ahead is unlikely to reach the widespread, catastrophic scale seen in Nebraska and Iowa - as excess flow dissipates along the length of the river and water breaches or flows over the tops of levees.

Nebraska officials estimate the floods have also caused $553 million in damage to public infrastructure and other assets, and $89 million to privately owned assets, according to the state's Emergency Management Agency on Tuesday.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Purdue said more than a million calves have been lost from the flood damage.

In Missouri, the river was expected to crest on March 15 in St. Joseph at the third-highest flood level on record.

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Additionally, much of the USA east of the Mississippi River and portions of California and Nevada are at risk for minor flooding.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has released its spring outlook, predicting the majority of the country is favored to experience above average precipitation this spring.

"This is the broadest expanse of area in the United States that we've projected with an elevated risk that I can remember", said Thomas Graziano, a 20-year weather service veteran and director of the Office of Water Prediction.

"The major flooding we've already experienced across the lower Missouri and the middle to lower MS valley is a preview of what we expect through the rest of the spring".

"We've had floods nine, 10 years ago, but it was nothing like this", Hamilton said. In the western part of that state, the Mississippi River is already swollen and has been flooding some communities unprotected by levees since last month.

Around Rolling Fork, Mississippi, townspeople first noticed water rising from swamps near the Mississippi River in late February.

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