HASTINGS, Neb. -- A woman has died after her vehicle was swept away by rushing water in flooded south-central Nebraska, making her the first death attributed to the flooding this week.
News of the death Wednesday came as authorities expressed concern that runoff from heavy rains moving down several rivers poses new threats of flooding to downstream communities.
Warnings were issued after up to 9 inches (23 centimeters) of rain fell in some spots during storms that struck Buffalo, Dawson, Frontier, Gosper, Kearney and Phelps counties overnight Monday. Floodwater entered several communities, including Kearney, where several people were stranded in their homes or vehicles.
In Cozad, the Dawson County Sheriff's Office said that Shelly Masoner, 46, of Eustis, died Wednesday from injuries she received Tuesday when her vehicle was caught in moving water on Highway 21 and was swept away. Authorities say her car ended up rolling into a ditch filled with water.
The Wood River at Alda is expected to crest Friday less than a foot below the record set on June 16, 1967, the National Weather Service said. Floodwaters are expected to reach houses on the north side of town and cover U.S. Highway 30, spurring the American Red Cross to open a shelter late Wednesday in Wood River. Floodwater also invaded the town of around 660 residents after drenching March storms that hastened snowmelt and caused widespread, devastating flooding in much of eastern Nebraska.
Figures provided by the weather service show the Republican River at Orleans crested Wednesday afternoon at more than 13.8 feet (4.21 meters), just under the record of 14 feet set in 1947, flooding mostly just farmland. The service said the town isn't in the flood plain.