Tornadoes Wreak Havoc in the Midwest

Residents Assess Damage Following Tornadoes in Nebraska and Iowa

On Friday night, tornadoes tore through suburban Omaha, Nebraska, and parts of Iowa, causing widespread damage to homes, businesses, and infrastructure. Residents in the affected areas have begun the daunting task of assessing the destruction and cleaning up the debris left in the wake of the powerful storms.

5 Key Points

  • Tornadoes caused significant damage in suburban Omaha, Nebraska, and Minden, Iowa.
  • No fatalities have been reported, but there have been several injuries, none life-threatening.
  • Power outages peaked at 10,000 in Omaha but had dropped to 4,300 by Saturday morning.
  • An industrial building collapsed in Lancaster County, Nebraska, with 70 people inside, but all were evacuated safely.
  • The National Weather Service continues to evaluate the number and strength of the tornadoes, while issuing new tornado watches for parts of Texas and Oklahoma.

Assessing the Damage

In the Elkhorn neighborhood of Omaha, residents woke up to the sounds of chainsaws as they began clearing the debris from their damaged homes. Pat Woods, an Elkhorn resident, described the scene: “When we came up, our fence was gone and we looked to the northwest and the whole neighborhood’s gone.”

Omaha police Lt. Neal Bonacci reported that the fire department had completed its search of damaged homes and structures, with only minor injuries reported. Nebraska Gov. Jim Pillen and Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds planned to tour the affected areas and assess the damage.

Industrial Building Collapse and Airport Disruption

One of the tornadoes hit an industrial building in Lancaster County, Nebraska, causing it to collapse with 70 people inside. Fortunately, everyone was evacuated, and the three injuries reported were not life-threatening. Sheriff’s officials also reported a tipped-over train near Waverly, Nebraska.

Another tornado passed over the eastern edge of Omaha, directly through parts of Eppley Airfield, the city’s airport. Although the passenger terminal was not hit, airport officials had to halt aircraft operations to assess the damage before reopening the facility.

Devastation in Minden, Iowa

The small town of Minden, Iowa, was hit particularly hard by the tornadoes, with 40 to 50 homes completely destroyed. Two non-life-threatening injuries were reported. Jeff Theulen, chief deputy of the Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s Office, described the scene as “heartbreaking” and urged people to stay away due to downed power lines.

The Minden United Church of Christ, which survived the storm, has become a community hub for help and support. Pastor Eric Biehl said, “A lot of people are just kind of in shock. It’s all overwhelming now.”

Ongoing Tornado Threat

As residents begin the recovery process, the National Weather Service continues to monitor the situation and issue new tornado watches. Meteorologist Bruce Thoren warned of the possibility of “significant tornadoes” in parts of Texas and Oklahoma on Saturday afternoon and evening.