A Project for Better Journalism chapter

Wrathful Weather in the Midwest

A recent surge of floods in the Midwest has been developing across the region. States such as Minnesota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Nebraska, and Iowa have experienced snow melt and heavy rains as a result of a cyclone.

According to Dr. Jeff Masters of wunderground.com, the 1″-3″ of heavy rain across the state have contributed to the all-time high water marks to more than 20 river gauges. It’s also reported that one Nebraskan farmer died when trying to save a stranded motorist from the floodgates before being swept himself.

Consequently, these catastrophes have caused many issues in the Midwest, especially the state of Nebraska. As a result of the heavy rain and snowmelt, floods have developed throughout 93 counties with the damages exceeding $1.3 billion. These include road damages, cattle and crop loss, and many more.

In fact, the farming industry could take a sudden decline. Annette Bloom, a farmer who owns the Morrow Bloom farm down in Nebraska, had lost a plethora of calves while her farmland was destroyed. Commenting on the flood, Bloom states that there’s “a lot of devastation.”

With properties and businesses in disarray, a federal disaster declaration was issued. Vice President Mike Pence has also expressed his concerns by claiming the disaster as “some of the worst flooding he had ever seen in his life.”

In response, President Donald Trump has approved Nebraska’s federal disaster declaration by allowing “supplement state and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by severe winter storm, straight-line winds, and flooding.” This assistance ranges from “temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover.”

Yet, despite aid, some portions of Iowa and Nebraska are still encountering major setbacks in rebuilding efforts due to the multiplicity of bridges, roads, and railroad damages and limitations. Frank Morris of NPR reports that it’s been a challenge for locations, like Boyd County, to “repair roads and water lines on a tight budget in a hurry.”