Mike Pence Will Visit Midwest In Aftermath of Devastating Floods

Four dead and hundreds displaced across Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota, and Wisconsin

Mike Pence speaks at the Munich Security Conference.
Alexandra Beier / Getty Images

Four dead and hundreds displaced across Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota, and Wisconsin

Vice President Mike Pence indicated through Twitter that he will visit Nebraska in the aftermath of devastating flooding throughout the state and rest of the Midwest.

“Heading to Nebraska today to survey the devastating flood damage. To the people of Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota, Kansas & all regions impacted: we are with you!” the vice president tweeted through his official account.

The recent flooding throughout the region has been the worst in years. Seventy-four cities throughout the Midwest have declared a state of emergency in response to the disaster. The conditions were initially caused by a “bomb cyclone” depositing torrential rains over the region, and made worse by seasonal snowmelt rushing into rivers and streams.

“I’ve lived in this area of Dodge County and Fremont all my life and this is the worst flood situation that I’ve ever encountered,” Sheriff Steve Hespen of Dodge County, Nebraska, told NPR.

“Bomb cyclones” are caused when a storm rises in intensity extremely quickly, most often caused by a rapid drop in barometric pressure. While the flooding caused in the upper Midwest may be the worst effect of the storm, this cyclone can also cause winds up to 75 miles per hour in places as far away as New Mexico.

In addition to the flood warnings it issued for the Midwest, the National Weather Service also issued high wind and winter storm advisories for New Mexico, Texas, Colorado, and even parts of South Dakota.

“This will be one of the strongest wind events in years for West Texas and Southeast New Mexico,” the National Weather Service outpost in Midland, Texas cautioned.

The waters have slowly begun to recede, making it safe for Vice President Pence to travel in, but the flood warnings may continue for up to another week. Flood danger is much longer lasting than wind danger, since rivers will continue to crest and rain falls on built-up snowdrifts.

This storm has also threatened to create blizzard-like conditions in the Denver area, and could potentially be the most severe storm the location has ever witnessed. The local weather service told residents to “cancel any travel plans Wednesday afternoon and evening.”

It remains to be seen what effect, if any, Pence’s visit might have on the situation. The government has not yet allocated any federal funds to help the relief effort, but Pence may announce a coordinated relief effort when he arrives. He will be accompanied on his trip by the governors of both Iowa and Nebraska.