As students around the country participated in a global strike Friday to demand action on climate change, a powerful “bomb cyclone” ripped through the Midwest, bringing extreme flooding to parts of Nebraska, Iowa and Wisconsin.
The National Weather Service in Omaha issued a flash flood emergency order early Friday for areas west of Omaha after a dike on the Platte River in the town of Valley, Nebraska, failed.
The Platte River near Leshara swelled to a record 12.63 feet on Friday, topping the previous high of 11.84 feet set in 1996. In the town of Plattsmouth, south of Omaha, the Missouri River reached a record 37.15 feet, breaking the previous high of 36.73 feet in 2011.
Several levees reportedly failed and thousands were forced to evacuate across the state.
The monster low-pressure system was fueled by warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico colliding with cold air from the north. Michael Mann, climate scientist at Penn State University, told HuffPost there is evidence that climate change is increasing the conditions that support development of more intense bomb cyclones.
“Despite the antics of climate change-denying politicians ... the increased snowfall amounts associated with record-strength Nor’easters (and ‘bomb cyclones’) is symptomatic of, rather than evidence against, human-caused planetary warming,” he wrote in an email.