By Christopher Carbone
Published March 20, 2019
Stunning images released by NASA show the extent of the flooding in several Nebraska communities west of Omaha and between the Elkhorn and Platte Rivers, which completely flooded or became islands as water rose from both sides.
The intense late-winter storms forced residents in dozens of communities to evacuate.
According to NASA, a unique confluence of circumstances, including extreme winter cold that created a thick layer of ice on waterways, led to the flooding.
"When an intense storm brought downpours and unusually warm air to the region in March, it rapidly melted much of the snow and ice, producing enormous runoff in a short period," the space agency explained in a statement.
"As river ice broke up, large chunks compounded the problem by slamming into dams, raking against levees and other infrastructure, and packing together to jam waterways even more," NASA added.
One-third of the Offut Air Force Base was underwater and 30 buildings were damaged and engulfed by up to 8 feet of water, according to the Omaha World-Herald. In addition, 3,000 feet of the base's 11,700-foot runway was submerged.