PHOTO BY ZANE ECKLUND
The March 2019 “bomb cyclone” caused flooding up and down the Missouri River and its tributaries that overtopped levee systems and led to massive flooding throughout the district, including shutting down and covering portions of Interstate 29 in Iowa, as seen here.
from communities up and down the lower Missouri River. There was a lot of information flying around and it just was a really intense really high, high energy time,” said Matt Krajewski, chief, Readiness Branch. The levees were performing as designed. But the water continued to rise; the Platte River carried water from several Nebraska streams straight to the Missouri River and water started flowing over the tops of levees, which began to compromise the entire levee system. Communities, families, and businesses along the Missouri River and its tributaries were devastated by the flooding. In the Omaha District area of responsibility, more than 350 miles
of infrastructure along 60 different levee and channel systems across five states were damaged during the multiple record setting flood events (March, June, and September) in 2019. These damages included nearly 50 breaches in levee systems, 32 of which were on levee systems active in the PL 84-99 (Flood Control and Coastal Emergency Act) program. Some breaches measured as large as 2,000 feet long, with a staggering total repair estimate of more than $1 billion. “It was devastating. To see the levees, watching the water flow over the levees for more than three days and seeing the massive destruction, it was heartbreaking,” said Omaha District Commander Col. John Hudson. “I could see the communities, the 81