The “bomb cyclone” slammed the central US with hurricane-like winds and blizzard conditions this week, leaving in its tracks heavy rains and flooding.
In a news conference Friday, Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts said the state has experienced historic flooding in nearly every region.
Nebraska rescue teams have been pulling trapped residents out of flood waters since Thursday.
James Wilke, a Columbus farmer, got a call to assist a stranger, and never came home. According to CNN affiliate KMTV, a close family friend posted on social media about his last moments.
“It is no surprise to anyone that knew James that when he got the phone call to assist emergency responders … his answers would be yes,” Jodi L. Hefti wrote on Facebook.
“With the guidance of emergency responders, James drove his tractor over the Shell Creek bridge on the Monestary Road and the bridge gave out. James and the tractor went down into the flood water below.”
Crews around Platte Valley were rescuing residents from King Lake when they were also stuck.
A second Nebraska man died at a hospital in Lincoln after being caught in floodwaters across the state line in Iowa, according to the Fremont County, Iowa, Sheriff’s Office. The victim, 55-year-old Aleido Rojas Galan of Norfolk, Nebraska, was one of three men trapped by flooding in the town of Riverton after their car was swept away and they tried to swim to safety.
All three were rescued — Galan and another man were found “hanging onto trees,” according go the sheriff’s office — but Galan died from injuries, the office said.
The car carrying the men had driven around a road-closed barrier then hit floodwaters, the sheriff’s office said.
Continued flood warnings
“Anyone with interests along impacted rivers should monitor closely/take action,” the weather service said.
Many central Iowa rivers may see moderate flooding into next week from the rain and snowmelt runoff, the weather service said. A flood warning for northern and parts of central Iowa has been extended through Saturday evening as “local creeks and streams, as well as the main river branches are running high,” according to the weather service.
CNN’s Hollie Silverman contributed to this report.