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'Unprecedented' floods damage up to 500 homes in 1 Nebraska county

Nebraska's governor declared a state of emergency as the state deals with historic flooding.

NEBRASKA, USA — Flooding in Nebraska has badly damaged up to 500 houses in one county alone.

Greg London of the Sarpy County Sheriff's Office said Sunday that one levee broke Thursday along the Platte River, and another broke Saturday. He estimates that up to 400 houses and cabins in the area known as Hanson's Lake are damaged, including many that are completely submerged. Another 100 or so homes are damaged elsewhere in the county.

The area is near where the Platte and Missouri rivers converge. A Missouri River levee nearby also breached on Thursday.

London says many of the damaged homes are likely ruined. He says that while the area has had flooding before, this year's disaster is "unprecedented."

Credit: NE Governor's Office
The Spencer Dam was destroyed by flooding in Nebraska. It's located about 215 miles northwest of Omaha.

Flooding has reached record levels at 17 locations across Nebraska.

The state's emergency management agency says more record crests are expected in various rivers by Tuesday.

Nebraska has had much of the worst of the late-winter flooding that's been seen across the Midwest. Hundreds of homes are damaged and the state says 660 people are staying in shelters.

The Nebraska Emergency Management Agency says the Missouri River is expected to crest Sunday at 41 feet (12.5 meters) in Plattsmouth — 4 feet (1.22 meters) above the record set in 2011. Serious flooding there is expected to continue through next weekend.

RELATED: 2 dead, 2 missing as floodwaters breach levees in Midwest

Crest records also were set along the Platte and Elkhorn rivers. The Elkhorn reached 24.6 feet (7.5 meters) Saturday in Waterloo, breaking the 1962 record by 5 1/2 feet (1.68 meters).

Nearly 300 people have been rescued from high water across the state. At least one person has died in floodwaters in the state. A second death from flooding was reported in Iowa.

Credit: Nebraska Governor's office
An aerial photo of the Elkhorn River

Rising waters have forced hundreds of people from their homes. As of 7 p.m. Saturday, the American Red Cross had opened 16 shelters, but that number was expected to go up to at least 24, the agency said.

"We've had about 1,750 overnight stays," said Thea Wacshe, a volunteer with the American Red Cross who is from Colorado Springs. "So each night is counted when the individual stays. But that is expected to severely increase, drastically increase as water comes up and more towns are cut off."

Washe, a shelter manager with the organization, is flying to Nebraska on Monday to join the disaster relief efforts.

"We're just going to stay tuned to the safety personnel, and when they say go, you go," she said by phone. "Because the water can rush, you just never know with water."

Nebraskans looking to support response efforts should contact their local emergency manager and the Nebraska Red Cross. A directory of local emergency managers can be found by clicking here. Information about the Red Cross can be found by clicking here.

To keep up-to-date on road closings, visit the Nebraska Department of Transportation’s traveler information website at http://www.511.nebraska.gov/.  Anyone who becomes involved in an emergency situation, please call 9-1-1 immediately for assistance.

The Associated Press Contributed to this report

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