Tornadoes in US flatten homes in Nebraska and leave trails of damage in Iowa

A tornado in the US plowed through suburban Omaha and Nebraska on Friday, damaging hundreds of homes and other structures as it tore for miles along farmland and into developments.

Some injuries were reported but there were no immediate reports that anyone was killed.

Multiple tornadoes were reported in Nebraska and Iowa on Friday, but the most destructive storm moved from a largely rural area into suburbs north-west of Omaha, a city of 485,000 people.

Photos on social media showed the small city of Minden, Iowa, about 30 miles northeast of Omaha which also sustained heavy damage.

Jeff Theulen, chief deputy of the Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s Office, said at a late Friday briefing that 40 to 50 homes had been completely destroyed. Two injuries were reported but none was life-threatening.

Three people were injured in Nebraska’s Lancaster County when a tornado hit an industrial building, causing it to collapse with 70 people inside.

Several were trapped, but everyone was evacuated and the injuries were not life-threatening, authorities said.

Hundreds of houses sustained damage in Omaha, mostly in the Elkhorn area in the western part of the city, Omaha police Lt Neal Bonacci said.

Police and firefighters moved door-to-door to help people. Crews went to the “hardest hit area” and had a plan to search anywhere someone could be trapped, Omaha fire chief Kathy Bossman said.

“They’re going to be putting together a strategic plan for a detailed search of the area, starting with the properties with most damage,” Ms Bossman said.

“We’ll be looking throughout properties in debris piles, we’ll be looking in basements, trying to find any victims and make sure everybody is rescued who needs assistance.”

In one area of Elkhorn, dozens of newly built, large homes were damaged. At least six were wrecked, including one that was levelled, while others had the top half ripped off. There were dozens of emergency vehicles in the area.

“We watched it touch down like 200 yards over there and then we took shelter,” said Pat Woods, who lives in Elkhorn. “We could hear it coming through. When we came up our fence was gone and we looked to the north west and the whole neighbourhood’s gone.”

The tornado warning was issued in the Omaha area on Friday afternoon just as children were due to be released from school.

Many schools had students shelter in place until the storm passed. Hours later, buses were still transporting students home.

Another tornado hit an area on the eastern edge of Omaha, passing directly through parts of Eppley Airfield, the city’s airport.

Officials closed the airport to aircraft operations to access damage but then reopened the facility.

After passing through the airport, the tornado crossed the Missouri River and into Iowa, north of Council Bluffs.

In Lancaster County, where three people were injured when an industrial building collapsed, sheriff’s officials also said they had reports of a tipped-over train near Waverly.

The Omaha public power district reported that nearly 10,000 customers were without power in the Omaha area.

The forecast for Saturday was ominous. The weather service issued tornado watches across parts of Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas. And forecasters warned that large hail and strong wind gusts were possible.


No votes yet.
Please wait...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *