Video: Torrent of flood water surges into Nebraska hospital

 

Before the New York flooding, and the D.C.-Baltimore flooding, and the Detroit flooding, there was the Nebraska flooding.

Early Saturday morning, the Good Samaritan Hospital in Kearney, Neb., saw a surge of flood water breach the exterior windows after torrential rain associated with a strong bow echo moved through the state.

Security cameras overlooking the hospital’s cafeteria captured the dramatic scene.

Hospital employees look on from the stairs as the video begins. Flood water has already seeped into the building, and the water level outside is halfway up the two-story windows.

Five seconds in, the windows cave in to the massive amount of force, and a river of water spills into the hospital. Cafeteria furniture is tossed and swirled as the water rises, and the employees on the stairs seek higher ground.


Hourly radar loop from 7 p.m. Friday night through 7 a.m. Saturday morning (Weather Underground)

Early Friday night, a well-organized area of thunderstorms was taking shape in the northern half of Nebraska. By 11 p.m., Kearney was taking impact from the south flank of a large bow echo. Local weather stations recorded a considerable amount of rain in the overnight hours between Friday and Saturday. Between the hours of 11 p.m. and 4 a.m., 3.58 inches was recorded at a personal weather station in north Kearney, and 3.53 inches fell at a station southwest of the city.

Emergency manager Darrin Lewis told the Omaha World-Herald that Buffalo County’s drainage infrastructure just could not handle that amount of rain in such a short period of time. “Water was coming up through the floor drain with the storm drains full,” Lewis said. “The storm drains were maxed out.”

“If we get an inch of rain within 30 minutes or so, you have some problems,” Lewis went on to say. “But if you get 3.5 to 5 inches in a half hour to 45 minutes, it’ll cause issues for just about any community.”

In a statement on their Facebook page, Good Samaritan Hospital writes:

It’s hard to put into words exactly what Saturday’s conditions were like and just how seriously our facility was impacted. And to say that we’re emotional about the whole situation is a bit of an understatement. This security camera footage is just a glimpse into the series of events that unfolded Saturday. Again, we’re so relieved that no patients, staff or physicians were injured in this incident.

Angela Fritz is an atmospheric scientist and The Post's deputy weather editor.
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