70th anniversary of massive floods remembered

Published: May. 20, 2020 at 7:53 PM CDT
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Nebraska is no stranger to weather disasters. The floods of 1950 are still remembered by many in the state.

We talked with a man from Pender named Larry Smith. His 62-year-old uncle Archie Smith, and Archie's 61-year-old wife Mittie died in some of that flooding. "70 years ago May 8, about 9 o'clock at night is when it happened, and the water was as deep as 14 feet," Smith said.

Smith says the couple was traveling to Lincoln from the south and got caught in flood waters about seven miles south of town on Highway 77. The flooding on the Salt Creek was deadly, and many other people were killed. In fact, the flood of May 8th and 8th caused 23 deaths and covered more than 60,000 acres of land. From May to July of that year, 25 people were killed in flooding. The event is considered one of the top 5 flood events in Nebraska history.

Larry Smith puts a face on a couple of the victims. He says his uncle was born in Hansen, and ended up playing football at Bellevue College, and later became an attorney and judge. "He was kind of grandparents to us, him and her, because they had no kids and that's where we had our Christmases, and he was a real fun character," Smith said.