Late-winter storm hits Midwest

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A blizzard that paralyzed parts of Colorado and Wyoming barreled into the Midwest on Thursday, bringing whiteout conditions to western Nebraska and dumping heavy rain that prompted evacuations in communities farther east.

Emergency crews responded after a vehicle was swept off a road in Norfolk, Nebraska, and rising water along the Elkhorn River prompted evacuations in the city of 24,000 people. The missing individual had not been found by midday Thursday.

Evacuations also occurred in several other eastern Nebraska communities and at least one Iowa town. Cara Jamison and her neighbors had to leave their homes in Fremont, Nebraska, after water and ice chunks from a flooding Platte River blocked their street.

South Dakota’s governor closed all state offices Thursday as the blizzard conditions moved in, while wind, blowing snow and snow-packed roadways also made travel treacherous in western Nebraska.

Heavy rain caused flooding in eastern parts of both states, as well as in Iowa. Several cities in the region have been hit by rain this week, with records set Wednesday in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and Sioux City, Iowa.

“We’ve got a lot of water, and it’s got to find a way to get out of here,” said Tracy West, mayor of Lennox, South Dakota, where the 2,400 residents were asked to conserve water to prevent an overwhelming of the city’s wastewater system.

National Weather Service meteorologist Peter Rogers said flooding is likely to persist into the weekend, with deeply frozen ground preventing water from rain and snowmelt from soaking into the soil.

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