While a historically snowy winter is beginning to dissipate in parts of the plains and the center-west, an equally historic spring flood season is coming. From Nebraska to Wisconsin, through the rivers of the plains and the Midwest, more than 10 million people are on the alert in case of flood this weekend after this week "cyclone bomb. "
Some of the largest floods to date have been in eastern Nebraska. "The widespread and extremely dangerous floods will continue today and tonight," the National Meteorological Service office in Omaha wrote Friday morning.
Since the publication of this declaration, the meteorological service itself had to evacuate a dike break on the Platte River.
In northeastern Nebraska, the city of Norfolk remains subject to large-scale evacuation on the east side.
The floods are caused by rivers like the Elkhorn, which reach almost record levels and cross dikes in some places. Weather.com reported that one-third of the city's 24,000 residents had been evacuated. The water at this place is decreasing, but only after part of the city has been submerged.
Columbus, Nepal, located at the meeting point of the Platte and Loup rivers in the southeastern state, was also particularly affected. A farmer was killed on the spot when his tractor was washed away while he was trying to help save other people from floodwaters. Several others are missing in the area.
Major ice jams on both rivers near Columbus caused a sudden flood in the area on Thursday. The authorities planned to deposit coal ash on the ice to facilitate its melting and allow the rivers to withdraw once the natural and temporary dams were removed, but the traffic jams dissolved before the plan was implemented.
In recent days, while the cyclone was causing heavy rains, floods have focused on streams and watercourses, as well as on small to medium sized rivers. During the weekend, the largest floods are expected to move to the largest rivers in the region.
In the section of the Missouri River crossing southeastern Nebraska to the border with Iowa, the Cooper Nuclear Power Plant declared an "Unusual Event Notification" early Friday morning, signaling that the river had exceeded a height worrying.
According to a press release, the level of the Missouri River at the location of the nuclear power plant would have reached 42.5 feet, or 899.05 feet above sea level. The plant itself The same is 903 feet above sea level. The alert has triggered the initial precautions and if the river reaches 45 feet, the facility will go offline.
Meteorological forecasts indicate that the water level at the plant could rise to about 45.5 feet this weekend, which would require a shutdown. In this case, electricity would be provided by other sources. The last major threat to the plant occurred during the historic summer flood of 2011, but was able to operate end-to-end.
Floods in this part of the Missouri River have already reached and exceeded record levels. Although the additional floods are not massive, it is possible that the river crest only Saturday or Sunday in this region.
The water levels of many major rivers are expected to remain near record highs early next week before slowly lowering thereafter.
Floods are also common in Iowa, with many roads being closed in that state due to flooding waters. In central state, some homes have been evacuated near Otho, where ice jams have also been reported.
The cities of Lodi and Darlington, Wisconsin experienced particularly impressive floods. In Lodi, the mayor said it was "the worst he has seen in the city for 71 years." Darlington is at the heart of its third flood in a year, which should be the worst since 1993 in this locality.
The floods were caused by a combination of factors.
The heavy rains associated with the cyclone that passed through the bomb in recent days have been an important catalyst. It has been exacerbated by the presence of an important snowpack melting winter, thanks to the record rainfall recorded in winter. Blocking ice jams on frozen rivers and soils, which maximizes runoff, only makes things worse.
With heavy rains in winter and an active spring storm in the central section of the country, this week's events are probably just the beginning of a long flood season.