Bomb Cyclone, Blizzard, Ice Dam: Quite the Week

A BNSF train sits in flood waters from the Platte River, in Plattsmouth, Neb., Sunday, March 17, 2019. Hundreds of people remained out of their homes in Nebraska, but rivers there were starting to recede. The National Weather Service said the Elkhorn River remained at major flood stage but was dropping. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

So I think we’ll stay a little closer to home today. Just a couple hours down I-80 to be exact. I don’t talk about it much, but Nebraska is gorgeous and has been pretty good to me.

But winter going into spring can be pretty awful. This year is an example. Let Emily Zanotti explain:

Historic floodwaters have besieged Nebraska following this week’s “Bomb Cyclone” weather event, leaving areas in and around Omaha and Belleville, Nebraska, completely underwater — and the waters show no sign of receding any time soon.

Few news organizations outside the state have been documenting the flood and subsequent levee breaches, which have left Nebraskans struggling to save their homes and farms from floodwaters reaching up to seven feet higher than they’ve ever been.

Reuters reports that the floods are the direct result of the “Bomb Cyclone,” a “winter hurricane that forms when the barometric pressure drops 24 millibars in 24 hours.” Between the Bomb Cyclone’s snow and rain, the Missouri River rose dramatically, and isn’t expected to officially crest until the early hours of Tuesday morning.

In Fremont, Nebraska, residents remain stranded, according to local news sources. Roads and bridges are washed out and emergency responders are furiously raising sand-bag walls in the hopes of saving homes from the rising Platte River after two levees, meant to keep the river at bay, failed completely.

Near Lincoln, roads and highways are washed out, reports.

“A quarter-mile section of U.S. 281 was washed out just south of the bridge over the Niobrara River,” according to the local outlet. “At the Allen ranch, floodwaters 4 to 5 feet deep inundated pastures and livestock pens,” he said, “tipping over stock trailers, flowing into farm sheds and tractors, and scattering cattle.”

“I’ve never seen anything close to this,” one rancher told reporters. “I’ve seen water come within a foot of coming over the banks of the river, but never anything like this. Never.”

Governor Ricketts and Senator Sasse have been out checking on what is needed, and if truth be told, probably mostly getting in the way. But showing them around is important too.


So we’ve got ourselves a bit of a mess. Ain’t the first one, won’t be the last either. And you know, they remind us of who we are, as we pitch in to help our neighbors, One of my blogfriends, a Nebraska Extension Agent (no doubt she is very busy now) put it this way.

Perspective. I spoke a little of this last week. This week, in the midst of much occurring, it was all about perspective for me. It’s hard to find words for the devastation occurring in Nebraska. Perhaps like me, you found yourself feeling a tad overwhelmed or helpless by the images of damage…cattle being dug out of snow or stranded on islands and whole communities engulfed by water… I think what made this extra hard for me is that so many of our people are hurting and affected. Tornadoes and hail damage are somewhat more isolated for allowing people to more easily respond. This has been harder to help with road and bridge infrastructure damaged in so much of the State. And, unfortunately, we will feel these effects for a long time.

Perspective for me was counting my blessings. Because I rely a great deal on my faith, considering worse things I’ve personally gone through and remembering God’s faithfulness to me helps me with perspective. My family is all safe and we have each other, and my dad’s livestock are also safe. Those statements aren’t true for some I know who lost family and livestock this week and many more that I don’t know. In talking to a farmer friend, he was also sharing how he kept thinking about his blessings and that was the message he was sharing with others. So perhaps thinking of our blessings can help all of us with so much loss all around us? That actually is one of the research-based tips mentioned in this article:

Nebraskans are so resilient! In the midst of tragedy, the stories of people pulling together to help however they can is heart-warming. Though we may experience more devastation for a time, we will get through this! #NebraskaStrong.

#NebraskaStrong. Yep, that describes us. We’re fairly quiet folk, not given to overtalking things or very comfortable showing emotions. We tend toward both the solid and the stolid.  But, we’ve been in this country long enough to know that the old saying was right, the strong do thrive, the sick do die, and the weak never start stay back east. That is the story of the Great American Desert, and neither floodwater nor ice dam, neither blizzard nor tornado will change it. It’s a story of neighbors banding together and facing their troubles down. It’s a very American story, perhaps the American story, neighbors standing together through anything, its what we do, just as de Tocqueville wrote way back when it’s still our way.

If you are wondering how this screws up our lives going forward, my friend’s blog also passes along quite a bit of the information that the University of Nebraska is telling us. Very useful, and highly recommended.


About Neo
Lineman, Electrician, Industrial Control technician, Staking Engineer, Inspector, Quality Assurance Manager, Chief Operations Officer

15 Responses to Bomb Cyclone, Blizzard, Ice Dam: Quite the Week

  1. Nicholas says:

    This is interesting to me because I saw a video today discussing similar weather conditions in California. The blogger was saying that if California had built sea-level/low altitude reservoirs, they could have collected a lot of water to help them the next time they have a water crisis – story of mismanagement. At the end of the video is a short excerpt of an interview in which Victor Davis Hanson discusses the migrant crisis in California and the southern border states.

    My heart goes out to all the Nebraskans affected by snow or floods at this time. Not sure if this is a weather warning from God about Trump’s ME peace plan – you’d have to ask someone better qualified with stats on that one.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wonderful post and thank you for sharing my blog too!

    Liked by 1 person

    • NEO says:

      Glad to, Always read it, but we blog quite different areas, as you know. But sometimes we intersect. Glad you approve, I suspect I exceeded Fair Use a bit. 🙂


      • I appreciate your posts too as I find them interesting! I have no problems with anyone sharing our information so we can reach more people-thank you!!!

        Liked by 1 person

        • NEO says:

          I do OK for an old pivot tech, I think. It lets me loose on thing that always interested me, but never really had time for.

          That was my assumption, a friend from Florida asked yesterday if I was OK, well, I’m well clear this time, but hard to tell from the news, then you most useful article turned up. And so.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. the unit says:

    Yeah, I don’t know what news organizations out of state have covered this very well or at all. I don’t watch much organizations that might cover it. But since I’ve been up to my nose in flood waters before I’ve been following it. has had some pretty good coverage and I’ve checked there.
    AOC may not approve, but they been in my thoughts and prayers. I know y’all will pull together like we’ve done from time to time. Like in Katrina when the house on one corner of the intersection separated and the roof where the family had crawled floated across to another corner house that stood, and the guy in the attic was able to pull the wife and three little girls in. The hubby was washed a block inland (and this was already two blocks in, all before it gone). He did survive. Ours was on a third corner and fortunately stood although ruined.
    And the afterwards recovery ain’t gonna be no fun either…for months and years. Some will never.
    Saying is you’re alive and things can be replaced. But lots of things for some, maybe lots, won’t be.
    Thinking, praying, wishing for the best.

    Liked by 1 person

    • NEO says:

      Yep, I’ve through a fire, but never a flood. The things that never can be replaced, the pictures, the silly mementoes, some of the things your grandpa made, they matter. Most of it – well, not so much. You’ll understand this, part of why this is hard here, like she said, we’re used to tornadoes, blizzards, fairly localized, this is something like a third of the state, one of our best generating stations sits all but in the Missouri River, it was noticeable a few years ago when Obama’s Corps of Engineers managed to have it flooded out all summer. But yeah, we’ll mostly survive, a bit older, wiser, and more hardbitten than we were. If the living was easy we’d all be snowflakes.

      Wish it was 20 odd years ago, and I was heading up there with a storm crew though, being old ain’t what it’s cracked up to be, sometimes. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • the unit says:

        And time flies by faster and faster as you get older. Katrina 14 years ago come August, but seems like yesterday. Did clean up recovery for Erin and Dennis at my place year before and a month before respectively, and salvage and clean up for K at mom’s, then me being in early aged 60s. That’s what worries me most now about another…being able to do the recovery now so many years older. Heck, I’d have to get a new chainsaw. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • NEO says:

          I know, it’d probably kill me now. 🙂 BTW, if I was to buy another chainsaw, I’d look closely at the cordless electric ones, unless I was doing really big trees.


  4. Pingback: The Attack of the Greenies | nebraskaenergyobserver

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