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Bridge Near Genoa, Neb. Office of Governor Pete Ricketts
A washed out bridge near Genoa, Neb.

Storm impact is a wild card

Flooding from last week's bomb cyclone will extend damage and challenge through the months ahead.

Damage assessment from last week’s bomb cyclone is in nascent stages, but early estimates peg the value at $2.5 billion in Nebraska and Iowa alone. Estimates of the number of cattle lost are forthcoming.

Widespread flooding impacts—everything from longer routes to haul feed and cattle to less cargo weight per barge on river ways—suggest damages will continue to accrue.

“Some ethanol plants are dealing with transportation issues as the rail lines are affected,” explained analysts with the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS). “Flooding has not only affected cattle producers but grain farmers as well. Grain bins that were still full of last year's harvest will be un-saleable, leaving a big hole in the balance sheet. Lack of passable roads in Nebraska, Iowa and South Dakota have left many stranded on ‘islands’.”

Of course, numbers and ledgers belie the cost of human and animal life, as well as generational legacy. You can get a sense of some of that in Troy Smith’s excellent piece, Catastrophic flooding hits ranchers hard.

For information about how you can offer aid, please see Bomb cyclone efforts underway.

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