The massive late winter storm that struck Nebraska this month caused at least three deaths and continues to affect the lives of hundreds of thousands of state residents. From blizzard choked roads to flooded farms, homes and businesses, the so-called cyclonic bomb also affected many students attending the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Audrey Hertel is a UNL freshman and journalism, advertising and public relations major. Her family lives on the edge of the Elkhorn River. The March 13 storm triggered fast-moving floodwaters that poured onto their property and surrounded their Elkhorn, Nebraska home. “During break we couldn’t even leave the house,” Hertel said. “The gravel road leading to my land was so worn down we couldn’t come or go.”
UNL sophomore Dustyn Stortzum also had a close-up experience with the flooding. The sports broadcasting major had to hurry home to Silver Creek, Nebraska to help his family move their horses to safety.
The Stortzum family was able to save their three horses, but many farmers around them lost their livestock.
“I think recovery is going to be tough because of all the livestock that died in the flood and all the farmland that has been washed out,” Stortzum said.
More than 2,000 miles of highways in the state were damaged or closed at some point from the blizzard and flooding, Nebraska Department of Transportation Director Kyle Schneweis told NET News.
“I think the only way that the floods really affected me was that the roads were closed,” freshman Megan Joyce, a community health and wellness major from Chicago, Illinois said. “I feel like I am really lucky that it didn’t happen to me. I have never lived in an area where there have been natural disasters, so I usually feel detached from them,” Joyce said. “I feel like it could have been me or anyone I know.”
“I was out of the state when the flooding happened,” said Modesto, California native and sophomore sociology major Dwight Miller, “I was worried about my friends and their families who live around Lincoln.”