Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska and 74 Cities in Major Flood
Authorities in Nebraska are hoping that the flood water recedes after what was described as the “worst flood in Nebraska’s history” overwhelmed the state. Offutt Air Force Base was among those who couldn’t get into buildings that were inundated in flood waters.
Nebraska, Iowa, and Wisconsin declared emergencies as the floods struck across the region. Nebraska alone had 74 cities, 65 counties, and 4 tribal areas that had to declare emergencies.
Offutt Air Force Base personnel couldn’t get into at least 60 of the structures on base after flood waters rose over the weekend.
Offutt, home of the 55th Wing, evacuated and relocated nine aircraft as a result — eight RC-135 Rivet Joint reconnaissance aircraft and one of Global Strike Command’s E4-B Nightwatch aircraft, more commonly known as the “Doomsday” plane, [Base Spokesman Ryan] Hansen said.
Half of the Rivet Joint aircraft were flown to Nebraska’s Lincoln Air National Guard Base, and the other half to MacDill Air Force Base in Florida. Global Strike did not tell Military.com where the E-4B was located, citing operational security reasons. A spokeswoman for the command said the E-4B aircraft was not damaged.
Four RC-135s remain parked on the other side of the flightline, which is elevated. Roughly 3,000 feet of the runway remains submerged, Hansen said.
Some of the flooded buildings recorded water levels between six and eight feet, Hansen said.
The Nebraska Department of Health stated that water supplies may be severely compromised as the flood waters continue across the state. There have been 4 deaths so far from the flood in both Nebraska and Iowa.
Two major factors led to the heavy flooding: a bomb cyclone that dropped heavy rain from March 13 into late last week, and melting ice and snow. The rain, in some cases, dropped onto snowpack and frozen ground that weren’t able to absorb the downpour.
The rain and melting snow overwhelmed rivers and streams.
Water levels were dropping in Nebraska and Iowa on Tuesday, but flooding may get worse elsewhere in the coming days.
Officials with the transportation department stated they had to plow 5 inches of mud off the highways in order for trucks to get through to Fremont according to USA Today.
Offutt Air Force Base is hoping to be back up and running today, March 19. The on base and off base housing was built on higher ground, so was not affected. They do not yet have an estimate of damage. As for the rest of the state, it’s going to be a while before the waters totally recede.