Thanks to a weather phenomenon called a ​“bomb cyclone,” Nebraska was absolutely battered this past week. The western part of the state experienced blizzards that closed all highways and interstates in the Panhandle region and dumped large amounts of snow (1020 inches, depending on the area). Meanwhile, eastern Nebraska is dealing with some of the worst flooding it’s seen in decades.

The above drone footage gives you a good sense of the flooding’s scale, and how far rivers have expanded beyond their usual banks. It’s actually kind of eerie to see the small towns highlighted in the video (e.g., Scribner, Wisner). We’ve driven through them many times to go to family reunions but now, they’re completely surrounded, if not covered, by the floodwaters. It’ll take months, and even years, to recover from this devastation.

We’ve been fortunate; Lincoln has come through all of this pretty unscathed. But many other Nebraskans, including my wife’s family, aren’t so fortunate. Even if their houses aren’t flooded, they — like so many others in this region — are essentially cut off by the flooding, and it may be several days before the waters subside enough so that they can leave without risk.

Natural disasters are terrible, and nothing to wish on anyone, but they can allow for the best in humanity to emerge, as people help their neighbors, give their time and resources to help their communities, and even sacrifice their lives trying to save complete strangers.

Oh, and find some humor in even the worst of situations:

Image Credit: Farm Dad Word Barf