Record Floods Hit Nebraska After 'Bomb Cyclone,' Killing 3 and Leaving Others in Need of Rescue

In the aftermath of a "bomb cyclone," Nebraska is experiencing its worst flooding in 50 years, leaving people stranded in need of rescue and claiming one life.

James Wilke, a Columbus, Nebraska farmer, was using his tractor to rescue stranded motorists on Saturday and never came home. Wilke, 50, died Thursday when a bridge he was crossing collapsed, CNN affiliate KTIV reported.

His cousin, Paul Wilke, confirmed that James Wilke's body was found downstream later that day.

Authorities spent Saturday using boats and large vehicles to evacuate residents in parts of the state, where a recent deluge of rainwater and snowmelt was sent pouring over frozen ground, overwhelming creeks and rivers, according to the Associated Press.

In addition to Wilke, two other men are missing and presumed dead. Scott E. Goodman, 30, of Norfolk, Nebraska was seen at 4 a.m. Thursday on top of his car near a levee that failed. It was reported that he was later seen being carried away by a "surge of water," according to the Norfolk Daily News.

A second, unidentified man may have been swept away Thursday when the Spencer Dam collapsed on the Niobrara River.

When the dam failed, it caused a large ice floe to jam a hole in a small electrical plant, where employees were working, Norfolk Daily News reported. No other injuries were reported. The dam failure subsequently led to evacuations of several residents living along the river.

By Friday, one-third of Norfolk's 24,000 residents were able to return home, The Weather Channel reported.

Fremont, Nebraska's sixth largest city, has become "an island" due to the floodwaters, which have breached dams and levees and may force the Cooper Nuclear plant to shut down out of an abundance of caution.

Fremont lies approximately 40 miles northeast of Omaha and is home to more than 26,000 residents. As of Friday afternoon, flooded roadways coming in and out of the city were closed, leaving the city cut off, according to AP.

"We are asking people to stay out of the area. We are getting a lot of sightseers, and it's impeding crew from getting sandbags and fill (material) to where we need to go," Lottie Mitchell, a spokeswoman for the city, told the Omaha World-Herald.

Mike Wight, the public information officer for the Nebraska Emergency Management Office, told The Weather Channel his team is monitoring flooding in Fremont.

Rescues and evacuations are continuing throughout impacted areas and the rising Missouri River in the town of Brownville, Nebraska, meant officials were preparing to shut down the Cooper Nuclear Power Station, according to a press release.

Wight told The Weather Channel there is "concern" for the nuclear plant, but said it "is perfectly safe."

"We don't expect any safety issues but we do expect they will get flooding around them and if it gets too far they will shut it down," Wight said in the report. "It is something we're really watching closely."

He also added that nuclear power plants "are extremely conservative in their emergency plan."

As the weekend progresses, flood waters are reported to be receding in Nebraska and heading down the Missouri River.

On Saturday, Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts tweeted his praise of fellow Nebraskans.

"The people of Fremont stepped up today in a major way to help protect their community," Rickets said. "We will get through this together — neighbor helping neighbor."

The people of Fremont stepped up today in a major way to help protect their community. We will get through this together — neighbor helping neighbor. #NebraskaFlood | #NebraskaStrong

— Gov. Pete Ricketts (@GovRicketts) March 17, 2019

Ricketts also tweeted a list of ways the public can help those afflicted by the catastrophic floods.

Here's how you can help:

1. Contact @neiaredcross and donate time, money, or blood:

2. Support the work your emergency manager is doing. Contacts here:

3. RT this post to help spread the word!#NebraskaFlood | #NebraskaStrong

— Gov. Pete Ricketts (@GovRicketts) March 17, 2019