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Flooding at Offutt Air Force Base damages dozens of buildings; runway closed

Luke Thomas and Air Force Tech Sgt. Vanessa Vidaurre look at a flooded portion of Offutt Air Force Base Sunday, March 17, 2019, in Bellevue, Neb. Hundreds of people were evacuated from their homes in Nebraska and Iowa as levees succumbed to the rush of water. Flooding has also been reported in Illinois, Minnesota, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

Z LONG/OMAHA WORLD-HERALD VIA AP

By STAFF AND WIRE REPORTS Published: March 18, 2019

About one-third of Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska was underwater on Sunday after the Missouri River flooded, hitting record-high levels in many areas during widespread flooding in the Midwest.

Heavy rainfall and snowmelt have led to dangerously high water in creeks and rivers across several states. Offutt spokeswoman Tech. Sgt. Rachelle Blake told the Omaha World-Herald that 60 buildings, mostly on the south end of the base, have been damaged, including about 30 completely inundated with as much as 8 feet of water.

U.S. Strategic Command, which calls Offutt home, ordered all but "mission critical personnel" to stay home on Sunday, according to NBC. The base's runway will be closed until 1 p.m. Tuesday, according to a notice sent to servicemembers by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Late Sunday, 55th Wing Commander Col. Michael H. Manion said on his Facebook page that floodwaters had been at the same level for 12 hours and that the Army Corps of Engineers predicts the water will begin to recede on Thursday.

"It is extremely clear that we face a grand challenge," Manion said on a Facebook post showing the base's flooded airfield.

Offut has been posting updates on its Facebook page. The latest says that the base's STRATCOM gate is closed until further notice. The Kenney (Flag) gate will be inbound only from 6:30 to 8:30 a.m. on Monday, with normal operations starting at 8:30 a.m.

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Nearly 3,000 feet of Offutt Air Force Base's runway is covered by the flooding Missouri River Sunday, March 17, 2019.
Z LONG/OMAHA WORLD-HERALD VIA AP

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