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Two lives lost as Nebraska struggles with state's worst flooding in 50 years

CNN logo CNN 3/17/2019 By Christina Maxouris, CNN

Slideshow by photo services

(CNN)Parts of Iowa, Missouri and Nebraska are grappling with the aftermath of a powerful "bomb cyclone" that turned some areas into swamps as rivers spilled over highways and residential areas.

The "bomb cyclone" slammed the central US with hurricane-like winds and blizzard conditions this week, leaving in its tracks heavy rains and flooding.

In a news conference Friday, Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts said the state has experienced historic flooding in nearly every region.

"This is the largest widespread amount of flooding we've had in the last half century," he said, according to CNN affiliate KTIV.

Farmer's tractor went down in flood waters

Nebraska rescue teams have been pulling trapped residents out of flood waters since Thursday.

James Wilke, a Columbus farmer, got a call to assist a stranger, and never came home. According to CNN affiliate KMTV, a close family friend posted on social media about his last moments.

"It is no surprise to anyone that knew James that when he got the phone call to assist emergency responders ... his answers would be yes," Jodi L. Hefti wrote on Facebook.

"With the guidance of emergency responders, James drove his tractor over the Shell Creek bridge on the Monestary Road and the bridge gave out. James and the tractor went down into the flood water below."

CNN affiliates KOLN and KGIN reported the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency confirmed a flood-related fatality in Platte County. The mayor of Columbus also told the affiliate stations that person was a farmer on a tractor out to rescue someone from the flood waters.

Crews around Platte Valley were rescuing residents from King Lake when they were also stuck.


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