Western Nebraska Observer - Observations all along the line - Kimball & the Southern Panhandle First

Mother Nature's Spring Storm

 

March 21, 2019



Mother Nature sure knows how to put a damper on Nebraska’s spring spirit, from blizzard conditions to flooding. The majority of the entire state saw school and road closures last week due to this well tracked storm.

While local meteorologists are calling for a possible storm in the area at the beginning of next week, but do not believe it will produce as much snow. Drifts around Kimball county were reported as high as 10 feet tall. Then, with the warmer weather, snowmelt began Friday afternoon.

There are still tens of thousands of people without resources due to massive flooding back east. Reports explain that flooding will continue down the Missouri River into Iowa and Illinois.

Donations have poured in from throughout the country. They include livestock and animal supplies, food water and other necessities.

“We have not had a disaster that has been this widespread in the state, I don’t think, ever,” Gov. Pete Ricketts said Monday, March 18, while in Wood River. “We’ve had disasters where we’ve had a greater loss of life. But as far as how many places have been touched by this, I don’t think there’s ever been a disaster this widespread in Nebraska.”

According to a press release from the governor’s staff, recovery is beginning to occur in many places, and knowing where to turn for information on what to do next can be overwhelming.

The Nebraska Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) website is continually updating information to answer the many questions on resources available. You can access that information at https://nema.nebraska.gov/. There are helpful documents that can answer many questions on what needs to be done. NEMA has established a hotline for questions from persons affected by the floods. You can reach that call center at 402-817-1551.

For information on debris cleanup, contact the Crisis Cleanup Hotline at (402) 556-2476.

Farmers who have lost machinery or livestock should report to the Farm Service Agency office. County office contact information can be found on the agency’s website at https://www.fsa.usda.gov/state-offices/Nebraska/index.

The press release also stated that Nebraska Strong is not just a hashtag; it’s a way of life. Nebraskans and people from throughout the country are offering their help. All donations – monetary, goods and services, and volunteers – are being coordinated through Nebraska 211. To access Nebraska 211, dial 211 within the state. Outside of Nebraska, call (866) 813-1731.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) representatives will be in Lincoln to work with Bryan Tuma, director of NEMA, on an expedited declaration of emergency to submit to the White House. In addition, Vice President Mike Pence was visiting to survey damage with Ricketts.

Congressman Adrian Smith of Nebraska released a statement regarding the visit of Mike Pence to Nebraska on Tuesday to survey damage.

“I thank Vice President Pence for visiting Nebraska today and for delivering a message of solidarity on behalf of President Trump and his administration,” Smith said. “Severe weather and flooding have inflicted widespread difficulties across much of Nebraska, from high winds and snow in the west to historic flooding in the central and eastern regions. Having seen for myself the extent of this damage, I fully support Governor Ricketts’s request for a federal disaster declaration to allow additional federal support for the rebuilding process and I appreciate his leadership during this difficult time.”

The state of Nebraska, under the leadership of Ricketts, submitted its request for a federal disaster declaration to President Trump. Smith will join the rest of the Nebraska congressional delegation in sending a letter in support of this declaration, which will make additional federal funding available to support the recovery effort.

While some in the state are able to return to their homes, the reality of the amount of devastation hits strongly. As of Tuesday, 75 cities and 65 counties made emergency declarations, bringing the number of counties under emergency declarations up to 70 percent of the 93 counties.

St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Kimball is housing donations to be sent. Donations can be dropped at the parish rectory, just north of the church in the alley in front of the garage. No date has been released yet as to when donations will make the trip back east as of now.

Items needed include deodorant, toothbrushes/toothpaste, soap, shampoo/conditioner, women’s sanitary items, incontinence pads, new blankets, new pillows, cases of bottled water, heavy duty trash bags, cleaning supplies, dog/cat food, individually wrapped snacks, granola bars, beef jerky, diapers (all sizes), baby formula, baby wipes, paper towels, toilet paper, 1-gallon zip lock bags and clothing.

 

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