Back-to-back storms on Tuesday and Wednesday dumped 4 to 8 inches of rain on parts of north-central Nebraska.
Officials in Brown and Rock Counties on Thursday asked drivers to stay off roads entirely as they took stock of washed-out roads, bridges and culverts.
As waterways rose overnight, firefighters conducted at least one water rescue north of Ainsworth early Thursday after a pickup fell into flooded Bone Creek, according to radio station KBRB.
The 35-year-old driver slipped and fell trying to get out of the truck and was swept 200 to 300 yards downstream by a fast-moving current before she was able to grab onto a tree, KBRB said.
Firefighters and rescuers were able to locate her by the light on her cellphone. The woman spent about 20 minutes in the water.
At midday Thursday, the National Weather Service said flood warnings remained in effect for Rock, Brown, Holt, Keya Paha and Boyd Counties.
Areas that might flood included O’Neill, Spencer, Ainsworth, Bassett, Lynch and Stuart.
A flood warning continued for the Ponca Creek at Verdel, which measured 11.8 feet Thursday morning, 1.7 feet below flood stage, and the Elkhorn River near Ewing in Holt County.
Douglas Fox, director of Emergency Management Region 24, which covers Boyd, Brown, Cherry, Keya Paha and Rock Counties, said the flood damage may be worse than what occurred in mid-March, when a monster storm caused catastrophic flooding across parts of Nebraska and Iowa.
It’s been a steady onslaught of rain and flooding since the spring, Fox said.
“It just keeps raining. Since March, it’s just one thing after the other,” he said. “We fix roads and they get washed out again. We put culverts in and they get washed out again.”
Brown and Rock Counties are southeast of Valentine and include the towns Ainsworth and Bassett.
In Ainsworth, pockets of storms that blew through the area in the afternoons and evenings Tuesday and Wednesday brought more than 8 inches of rain over the two days, said Jaclyn Gomez, a meteorologist with the weather service office in North Platte.
“A lot of that ground is saturated,” she said. “With the saturated ground, there’s just nowhere for that rainfall to go.”
Rod Worrell, publisher of the Ainsworth Star-Journal, said he had about 5 inches of rain in his home rain gauge both Tuesday and Wednesday.
Hail measuring nearly 2 inches in diameter fell in Imperial, south of Ogallala, breaking car windows. In North Platte, officials clocked winds of 72 mph, Gomez said. The weather service received reports of downed trees and power lines in Hayes County.
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The bridge over Long Pine Creek northwest of Bassett was washed out by flash flooding Wednesday night, and the Hidden Paradise Cabins near Long Pine took on water.
Brown County Sheriff Bruce Papstein said Bone Creek and Plum Creek are flooded, too. Some state highways and county roads from central to north Brown County are covered by water.
“There’s lots of county roads and culverts washed out, lots of holes in the roads and all that,” Papstein said. “Just what everybody needs.”
Road crews have been working all summer to patch previously flooded roads, and the most recent storm is just another setback, he said.
The Niobrara River was still rising Thursday, Fox said.
“Of course, water’s coming from the west,” he said. “I don’t know when it’s going to come down.”
The rain fell as part of a storm system that unleashed three tornadoes on Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and triggered widespread flooding in southeastern South Dakota as the Big Sioux River swelled. Forecasters are keeping an eye on the Missouri River near Blair, Omaha and Plattsmouth; it is expected to rise over the next week to minor flood stages.
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People watch from the Huron Street bridge as water from Willow Creek flows just under bridge in Missouri Valley, Iowa on Wednesday, March 13, 2019.
The junction of Highway 275 and Highway 91 is flooded on Wednesday, March 13, 2019 just north of Scribner, Nebraska.
Cody Stump walks through a flooded street in Hooper, Nebraska, on Wednesday, March 13, 2019.
High water rolls through a street in Hooper, Nebraska, on Wednesday, March 13, 2019.
High water floods a street in Hooper, Nebraska, near a trailer park on March 13.
High water floods a street in Hooper, Nebraska, near an old bank building on Wednesday, March 13, 2019.
Standing water from melting snow and rain reflects the evening sky as a truck travels north on Highway 275 near Fremont, Nebraska, on Wednesday, March 13, 2019.
Crews from the Ashland, Mead and Yutan Fire and Rescue assist with evacuating the final residents in Ashland, Nebraska om Thursday, March 14, 2019.
Crews from the Ashland, Mead and Yutan Fire and Rescue assist with evacuating the final residents in Ashland, Nebraska Thursday, March 14, 2019.
Nebraska State Patrol Trooper Keith Bell surveys the water levels as floodwaters continue to rise near Salt Creek in Ashland, Nebraska, Thursday, March 14, 2019.
Sean Hanger, of Ashland and his son Aiden, navigate the floodwaters which continue to rise near Jack Anderson Ball Park in Ashland, Nebraska, Thursday, March 14, 2019.
Floodwaters continue to rise as mailboxes are consumed near Furnas Street and N. 15th Street in Ashland, Nebraska, Thursday, March 14, 2019.
Residents are rescued from a flooded area near Missouri Valley, Iowa on Thursday March 14, 2019.
Jenna Muntz stands behind a row of sandbags as she takes a photo of the rising floodwaters in Cedar Creek, Nebraska on Thursday, March 14, 2019.
A semitrailer truck that tried crossing Bell Creek in Arlington, Nebraska, was swept off the road by fast moving floodwaters.
Both Iowa and Nebraska were hit hard by flooding earlier this year and are in need of the disaster aid. Bell Creek, on the east side of Arlington, Nebraska flooded parts of the town on Thursday, March 14.
Blake Japp pulls his remote control truck out of the water while playing in the shallow floodwaters of Bell Creek on Thursday, March 14, 2019, in Arlington, Nebraska.
Bell Creek, on the east side of Arlington, Nebraska flooded parts of the town on March 14.
People navigate over giant chunks of ice that were thrown by floodwaters near River Resort in Yutan, Neb Thursday March 14, 2019.
A flooded home near Mosquito Creek in Council Bluffs, Iowa on Thursday, March 14, 2019.
Two corn cobs float in floodwaters near Mosquito Creek in Council Bluffs, Iowa on Thursday, March 14, 2019.
A Blackhawk helicopter hovers over Waterloo on Friday March 15.
A cow makes his way through floodwaters near Columbus, Nebraska on Friday, March 15, 2019.
A house is surrounded by floodwaters near Waterloo, Nebraska on Friday, March 15, 2019.
Floodwaters run through the town of Rogers, Nebraska on Friday, March 15, 2019.
Highway 75's northbound lane is closed due to flooding near MerrittÕs Beach RV Park on Friday, March 15, 2019.
Cars drive drive across a flooded Platte River on Highway 50 just north of Louisville on Friday, March 15.
Water covers a road near Valley, Nebraska on Friday, March 15, 2019.
Brent Schwindt of Norfolk, Nebraska, holds his son Paul, 4 months, as his wife Lacey Hansen sleeps on a blow up mattress at Lutheran High Northeast on Thursday, March 14, 2019, in Norfolk. The school was being used as an evacuation shelter for people affected by flooding in the area.
Motorists are forced to turn around as West Maple Road west of 216th Street is closed as floodwaters rise over the road near the Elkhorn River in Elkhorn, Nebraska, Friday, March 15, 2019.
A crowd of people gather to overlook the floodwaters which continue to rise along the Missouri River in Plattsmouth, Nebraska, Friday, March 15, 2019.
Homes, vehicles and RV's are submerged in floodwaters that continue to rise along the Missouri River in Plattsmouth, Nebraska, Friday, March 15, 2019.
Adam Jensen races to load his Lincoln Navigator outside his home near Mayne and Condron Streets in Valley, Nebraska. With three kids and a dog they plan to head to a hotel in Iowa. Valley residents were ordered to evacuate because of flooding on Friday, March 15, 2019.
CJ Cunningham holds his German shorthair Cazz after they were rescued from the King Lake area Friday, March 15, 2019.
Water flows over Highway 30 between Fremont and Arlington, Nebraska on March 15.
People keep an eye on floodwaters along Highway 30 between Fremont and Arlington, Nebraska on Friday, March 15, 2019.
Horses belonging to Faye Etherington are brought into town through floodwater on Highway 77 in Fremont Nebraska on Friday, March 15, 2019.
Paul Schmidt walks with his children Calvin and Avery while looking back at floodwaters over Broad Street in Fremont Nebraska on Friday, March 15, 2019.