Tornadic storm system hits Panhandle and Wyoming, injures 2; eastern Nebraska at risk today

Tornadic storm system hits Panhandle and Wyoming, injures 2; eastern Nebraska at risk today
Tornado in Kimball County, NE (Photo Courtesy: Kimball County Sheriffs Office)

A tornadic storm system that left two people injured and a trail of damage in Wyoming and the Nebraska Panhandle on Monday heads eastward today.

As a result, people in eastern Nebraska and western Iowa face an elevated risk of severe weather this afternoon and evening, according to the U.S. Storm Prediction Center. Today’s volatile weather is likely to begin between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. in northeast Nebraska, forecasters said.

Storms were to develop southward and eastward through the night, with an enhanced risk of severe weather across parts of the area, the National Weather Service office in Valley said. Large hail, damaging winds and isolated tornadoes will be possible, especially north of Interstate 80.

Omaha, Lincoln and Beatrice were included in an area under a slight risk for severe weather today, and locations to the west and north of Omaha were under an enhanced risk, the weather service said.

Nearly 30 reports of tornadoes had been made by 10:30 p.m. Monday, with more possible overnight. More than a dozen sightings had been reported in Nebraska.

Damage in Nebraska included:

» One person injured and two homesteads significantly damaged south of Harrison.

» Sixty-five train cars blown over south of Alliance.

» A school roof lifted off in Bayard, along with large trees downed and extensive hail damage.

» Power lines down north of Antioch.

Another person was injured in Wyoming, where scattered tornado damage was reported. Laramie was among the communities struck in Wyoming, according to reports to the National Weather Service.

Monday morning, record rains caused flooding in low-lying areas of Lincoln and Lancaster County. According to the weather service, 3.72 inches of rain fell in Lincoln on Monday, breaking the previous record of 3.01 inches set on June 12, 2003.

The storm also dropped damaging hail and heavy rain in Lancaster County. Hail stones up to 1.5 inches wide caused crop damage northwest of Roca, according to reports to the weather service.

Tim Byrne of the Lincoln Public Works and Utilities Department said localized lowland flooding occurred when storm sewer systems became overwhelmed by the rain, mainly on the north edge of Lincoln and farther north of the city. He said rainfall amounts varied widely throughout Lincoln and Lancaster County.

“It was a quick rainfall,’’ Byrne said.

He said he encountered some hail Monday morning in Lincoln, with heavier amounts occurring west of Lincoln.

“We dodged the bullet on the hail,’’ he said.

Elsewhere on Monday, the Columbus area received heavy rain and dime-sized hail. After tonight’s chance for storms, dry weather returns on Wednesday, followed by a chance of rain the rest of the week.

Highs in the low 90s are forecast today through the rest of the week.

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