March 18 (UPI) -- The Midwest is bracing for more rain after record flooding forced hundreds to evacuate, swelled rivers beyond their banks and overran failed levees, authorities said.
The forecast calls for more rains Tuesday mixed with snow -- in addition to heavy rains and melting snow that caused Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts to issue a statewide emergency declaration.
"That could trigger new or aggravate problems if that rain targets the areas hit hardest by the flooding," AccuWeather meteorologist Jim Andrews said. "Already swollen smaller streams and rivers can also significantly rise."
The unwelcome rain could hamper rescue and recovery efforts, too. Nearly 300 people and pets have been rescued from floodwaters, officials said. Interstate 29 has been shut down from Omaha, Neb., to Rockport, Mo.
The National Weather Service said major flooding could continue across the region until as late as Wednesday.
Video from the Elkhorn just north of Maple Steet near Valley, south to where the Platte and Elkhorn meet pic.twitter.com/rH44lGIUHO- OPD Helicopter (@OPDABLE1) March 17, 2019Advertisement
Officials said the Missouri River level swelled to an all-time high -- higher than 30 feet -- in Fremont County, Iowa, and a levee was breached on Nebraska's Platte River.
About a 30 sec clip on West Center going West and turning north onto Hwy 275. Again the amount of water and devastation is hard to fathom with pictures and video. #Flood2019 #NebraskaFlood2019 pic.twitter.com/WS3kiHStgF- Ofc. Mike Bossman (@OPDOfcBossman) March 17, 2019
More than 600 people are living in American Red Cross shelters. The initial storm started in Colorado last week as a "bomb cyclone," which occurs where there's a rapid drop in pressure.
U.S. Strategic Command deployed 235,000 sandbags and 460 flood barriers but the waters still flooded onto its headquarters at Offutt Air Force Base. More than two-thirds of base personnel were affected, officials said.
"We wanted to stay ready, and fortunately we were able to save all of our critical capability, and we are still in the fight," said Col. Michael Manion, commander of the 55th Wing.
The governors in Iowa and Wisconsin have also declared states of emergency.