More rain is expected to worsen flood conditions in Nebraska and other parts of the Midwest. People stacked sandbags at a nearby water treatment plant in Forest City on Thursday.
"It's already not looking good downstream for the middle and lower Mississippi and Missouri (rivers) into Kansas, Mississippi and Missouri", Bob Oravec, a meteorologist with the NWS's Weather Prediction Center, said early Wednesday. Some 200 miles of levees have now been compromised in Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri and Kansas, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said, per USA Today's John Bacon and Doyle Rice.
Missouri's emergency declaration comes after state water patrol troopers worked into the night March 20, pulling four people from homes and three others from a boat that ran out of gas around the small town of Craig.
"The flooding this year could be worse than anything we've seen in recent years, even worse than the historic floods of 1993 and 2011", she said.
A string of small Missouri towns prepared for the next deluge along the raging Missouri River on Wednesday after flooding wreaked almost $1.5bn in damage in Nebraska, killing at least four people and leaving another man missing. A local ethanol plant was also shut down amid the flooding.
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Agriculture Secretary Sonny Purdue said more than a million calves have been lost from the flood damage. "I'm, like, 'No, there ain't no water yet'".
He's also conducting an aerial survey and then meeting with more officials at Rosencrans Air National Guard Base later on Thursday afternoon. The flooding killed livestock, destroyed grains and soybeans in storage and cut off access to farms because of road and rail damage.
Nebraska's governor said his state has suffered almost $1.4 billion in estimated losses and damage, including $840 million in crop and cattle losses.
Surging waters after a late winter storm have already damaged hundreds of homes in the midwest this week, and been blamed for at least three deaths two in Nebraska and one in Iowa.