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‘Off the charts’: Catastrophic flooding wallops the Midwest

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Nebraska residents are bracing for more record-breaking river levels as major flooding continues to affect portions of the Midwest.

The still-unfolding catastrophe caused at least three known deaths across the region.

The Nebraska Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) said Sunday that 17 locations across the state had been hit by record flooding, and more records could be broken over the next two days. Flooding in some areas may continue until next weekend, the agency added.

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“Major to historic river flooding is expected to continue across parts of the Missouri and Mississippi River Basins,” the National Weather Service warned Monday, “due to rapid snow melt the past few days.”

Suggesting the still-unfolding catastrophe is a sign of a “hot new world,” climate activist and author Bill McKibben tweeted, “The Midwest flooding is off the charts—at places in Nebraska, the Missouri is four feet higher than it’s ever been before.”

Copernicus, the European Union’s Earth Observation Program, captured images of the flooding in the Cornhusker State, and said its magnitude was “biblical”:

“This really is the most devastating flooding we’ve probably ever had in our state’s history, from the standpoint of how widespread it is,” Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts said Monday.

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While Nebraska may be the most intensely affected at the moment, it is far from the only state hit by flooding. Iowa and Wisconsin also declared states of emergency as a result of of major flooding, and the graphics below show others in the Missouri and Mississippi River Basins that are facing rising waters.

The Weather Channel attributed the flooding to “a perfect storm of meteorological factors” including a “bomb cyclone” storm that brought snow and rain.

Meteorologist Jeff Masters broke down the details last week:

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The heavy rains from the bomb cyclone were accompanied by very warm temperatures which melted a snowpack of 5-13″ of snow. The snowpack had a high liquid water content—equivalent to an extra 1-3″ of rain falling—since the snow had been accumulating and compacting since early February. When Wednesday’s warm temperatures in the 50s and 60s and heavy rain melted the snow, the runoff flowed very quickly into the rivers, because the frozen ground was unable to absorb much water to slow things down. Many of the flooding rivers had thick ice covering them, due to the long stretch of cold weather the Midwest endured this winter. When the huge pulse of floodwaters entered the rivers, this caused the ice to break up and create ice jams, which blocked the flow of the rivers, causing additional flooding.

“Throughout Nebraska and the Midwest, our friends are dealing with the worst flooding in half a century,” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)  said in tweet over the weekend. “We must provide immediate help to those suffering. Long-term, we must take bold steps to stop climate change, which makes extreme flooding much worse.”

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GOP counsel Steve Castor ripped for ‘drowning’ during impeachment: ‘Someone find a lifeguard’

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The Republican staffer charged with cross-examining witnesses in the televised House impeachment inquiry hearings was roundly blasted online for his incompetence in questioning Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent and Ambassador Bill Taylor.

Federalist Society contributor Steve Castor, who has worked for Republicans on the Intelligence Committee since 2005, was hoped to be a hero for Republicans.

“From Tom Davis to Darrell Issa to me to Jim Jordan to Trey Gowdy, he’s always had everybody’s confidence and we are an eclectic group of oversight chairs and ranking members,” former Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) told The Daily Beast. “And the fact that he’s had all of our confidence is saying something.”

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‘It’s not working’: Ari Fleischer baffled by House GOP questions in impeachment inquiry

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George W. Bush's former press secretary Ari Fleischer was mystified by the questions House Republicans posed to the first two public impeachment inquiry witnesses.

GOP lawmakers tasked Stephen Castor with questioning Bill Taylor, the acting ambassador to Ukraine, and George Kent, a State Department deputy who covers Ukraine, and the staunch Republican Fleischer wasn't impressed.

"Whatever the GOP counsel is doing, it's not working," Fleischer tweeted. "I don't undertand where he's going."

Taylor and Kent told lawmakers that Trump and his associates set up a separate diplomatic channel that appeared to be aimed at pressuring Ukraine to assist the president's re-election campaign, but Castor's questions focused on establishing a conspiracy theory the witnesses had already debunked.

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‘Aimed squarely at Rube Nation’: Former Republican stunned by GOP lawmakers spouting Ukraine conspiracy theories

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Tom Nichols, a former Republican and a current professor at the Naval War College in Rhode Island, found himself utterly stunned by Rep. Devin Nunes's (R-CA) questioning of impeachment inquiry witnesses Bill Taylor and George Kent during Wednesday's hearings.

During his questioning, Nunes regularly befuddled both Taylor and Kent when he brought up issues related to the Crowdstrike conspiracy theory that claims that the Ukrainian government, not Russia, interfered in the 2016 presidential election.

Reacting to this, Nichols said that Nunes's performance wasn't aimed at persuading the general public, but only Fox News-watching Trump supporters.

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