Young farmer looks off in the distance as he stands in floodwaters.
A young farmer stands in the high floodwaters (Photo courtesy of Audrey Hertel).

Nebraska is historically prone to extreme storms, floods and droughts, but the state’s flooding in March 2019 surpassed a century of records.

“I hate to use the cliche of a perfect storm,” said Jim Davidsaver, director of the Lincoln-Lancaster emergency management. “But that’s what it was.”

A mix of frozen grounds and heavy precipitation led to floods that caused structural damage like dams and roads washing away, towns being stranded by floodwaters, and the bank of Lancaster County’s water treatment plant disappearing into the river.

As greenhouse gasses continue to raise the world’s average temperatures, extreme weather like heat waves and heavy rainfall will become more common, according to Martha D Shulski, Ph.D. These changes result in an overall wetter and more variable (and thus less predictable) climate, the Nebraska State Climatologist and Associate Professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s School of Natural Resources said.

Given Nebraska’s recent catastrophic flooding and the ever-increasing potential for worse weather, how should residents of the state prepare for the worst without sacrificing the good life now?

In this animated short, you can learn what three easy steps you can take now to save crucial time and energy in an emergency situation such as a flood in your home or workplace.

UNL Journalism Major, Graduating 2021