Historic, catastrophic flood a body blow to all Nebraskans

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Gut-wrenching!
Heart-breaking!
Life-changing devastation right here in the Heartland that is simply hard to fathom!
Nebraskans have been struggling for a week to find the words to describe the scenes and raw emotions that have been on full display for all the world to see. Even with the added perspective of clearer skies and a little time, there is just no way to fully grasp the widespread damage caused by catastrophic flooding which covered much of our wonderful state with water.
It was historic, to be sure, not so much because of the amount of rain that fell or any other single factor. The frozen tundra down below combined with melting snow and new precipitation created the “perfect storm” that nobody saw coming.
The stories unfolding throughout the week cut to the core.  Hearing proud, third-generation ranchers recall helplessly how they watched their entire herd, including the next generation of new-born calves, washed away gave us chills. Watching video after video of streets we’ve all travelled throughout eastern and northern Nebraska now turned into steady streams of water took our breath away. And the overhead views of entire communities still under water almost a week later makes a true Nebraskan sick to their stomach.
The feeling of loss is widespread, even for those of us here in Hamilton County who “dodged a bullet” in many ways. Our area community will most certainly feel the fall-out in terms of damaged rural roads and bridges and a full body blow to the ag economy, though we were not directly in the eye of the storm. For that we can be grateful
With no other choice but to move forward, Nebraskans began the process of helping those in need almost immediately. It was uplifting to hear how so many people pitched in with relief efforts all across the state, donating money, bottled water, supplies and trailers to haul those items to wherever there was a need. This week’s edition reflects local relief efforts that everyone who was involved can be proud of.
The reality is that those efforts will be needed for a long time to come, unfortunately. With literally hundreds of bridges and roads damaged or destroyed, many still submerged in flood water, it’s going to take time to fully assess the situation, let alone start the rebuilding process.
And we will, because that’s what Nebraskans do. In the meantime, we offer a heartfelt prayer for those who lost a little or a lot as well as all who are cleaning up their properties with a wary eye toward the sky.
Kurt Johnson

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