One Year Ago, a Bomb Cyclone Triggered Record Flooding in Nebraska That Destroyed Dam — The Weather Channel

2019 Nebraska flooding. Photo Credit: University of Nebraska Lincoln Crop Watch

From The Weather Channel (Jonathan Erdman):

At a Glance

  • Last March, a powerful storm known as a bomb cyclone erupted in the Plains.
  • While it set low pressure records and produced blizzard conditions, it had one lasting impact.
  • It triggered record flooding in Nebraska and other states.
  • The flooding lasted for months in the Missouri Valley.
  • It even destroyed a dam along the Nebraska – South Dakota border.
  • Nebraska state officials flew over the flood-ravaged Spencer Dam on March 16, 2019. The Niobrara River had been running at 5 or 6 feet of gage height before it broke through the 90-year-old dam early on March 14, 2019. After that, an 11-foot wave rolled through. Photo credit: State of Nebraska

    The storm intensified rapidly in the High Plains of eastern Colorado and western Kansas. By March 13, 2019, its pressure had plunged fast enough to be classified as a bomb cyclone and set all-time low-pressure records in four locations…

    The Epic Flood
    The bomb cyclone was the final element in a rare confluence of factors that triggered massive flooding in the nation’s midsection that lingered in some areas for months.

    Rapid snowmelt was followed by heavy rain. This unleashed rapid runoff into rivers previously frozen from exceptional February and early-March cold.

    The ice-choked Niobrara River in northern Nebraska burst through and destroyed Spencer Dam and sent a wave of water and massive ice slabs into nearby towns and fields.

    In all, 42 locations from the Missouri Valley to Wisconsin set new record river levels in mid-March 2019…

    This story didn’t end in March.

    A wet spring, summer and fall kept stretches of the Missouri River flooded much of the rest of the year, months longer than the previous major flood in 2011.

    It took until six days before Christmas for Nebraska to be free of any National Weather Service flood warnings, watches or advisories, a streak that began just after Groundhog Day.

    In Nebraska alone the flood affected over 7,000 homes with damage estimated at $2.7 billion.

    NOAA estimated total damage from this historic flood event at $10.8 billion, one of the nation’s costliest inland flood events on record.

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