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Devastating tornadoes flatten homes in Nebraska and Iowa as storm threat continues


Destructive tornadoes tore through homes as they moved through Nebraska and Iowa, and the dangerous storm threat could intensify Saturday as tornado-spawning storms pose a risk from Michigan to Texas.

The Elkhorn area of ​​Omaha, Nebraska, is one of the hardest-hit communities after severe storms swept through parts of the Plains and South Friday afternoon, authorities said. A powerful leveled tornado homes, where teams searched for anyone trapped or injured, local authorities said.

Meanwhile, in neighboring Iowa, a large tornado was reported in the small town of Minden, according to the National Weather Service. Images obtained by CNN show the devastation of mangled structures and scattered debris.

The threat of severe weather is expected to persist through Sunday, with Saturday likely the most dangerous day. Strong tornadoes are possible from Nebraska to Texas, Dallas, Austin, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Kansas City and Wichita.

A tornado watch is in effect for parts of western Oklahoma and northwest Texas until 1 p.m. Saturday, according to the Storm Prediction Center. Hail could reach the size of a tennis ball, with storms packing winds up to 70 mph and the tornado threat increasing throughout the morning. The watch includes Altus, Oklahoma and Childress, Texas.

And 18 million people in Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas are under flood watches through Sunday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service. Destructive long-range tornadoes and heavy rain are expected, with the worst storms occurring Saturday evening and night.

Here is the last one:

• Four people in Pottawattamie County, Iowa, suffered storm-related injuries and received medical treatment, county emergency management officials said in a news release Saturday morning.

• About 120 homes and businesses were damaged in Pottawattamie County, where Minden is located and home to about 90,000 residents. “Preliminary information indicates varying degrees of damage,” emergency services said.

• Eppley Airfield in Omaha reopened for flight operations Saturday, but delays were expected, city officials said. The passenger terminal was not affected by the storm, but damage assessment at the airport was underway.

• Two people in Omaha received medical treatment for minor injuries after a tornado swept through the Elkhorn area Friday. “We believe the injuries were so few because the warning systems in the city of Omaha and Douglas County were so effective,” Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer said. “We weren’t hit by a sudden storm. People had warned, which saved lives.”

• Emergency Officers in Nebraska Shelby and Douglas counties said there were no reports serious injured after several tornadoes struck their communities Friday. However, authorities reported that the storms caused significant property damage and residents were displaced.

Margery A. Beck/AP

Debris is visible from a destroyed home northwest of Omaha, Nebraska, after a storm ravaged the area Friday.

• On the outskirts of Lincoln, Nebraska, a tornado tore roofs off homes and tore through part of I-80 as it crossed. Several cars on a train were derailed near Waverly after being struck by a tornado, according to a railroad spokesperson.

• In response to the tornado that ravaged Minden, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds issued a disaster proclamation to support storm recovery efforts in Pottawattamie County.

• At least two tornadoes were observed in Texas Friday afternoon. Video posted to social media showed an apparent tornado passing through a large field northeast of Waco.

• There were nearly 80 reports of tornadoes Friday in at least five states, many of which were confirmed by weather services or images from storm chasers.

Jason Sunday, a resident of hard-hit Elkhorn, Omaha, described the tornado as a “freight train.” As it approached, he took shelter in his house, which he had just moved into 30 days ago, CNN affiliate KETV reported.

“We saw it coming from the southwest, and when it got too close for comfort, we went down quickly. We were in the bathtub downstairs, and it was just like the movie said, it was like a freight train,” Sunday told CNN affiliate KETV.

“And you knew the roof was coming off because it was a loud noise and a sucking motion. It was quite scary.

The tornado caused severe damage to the Sunday family’s dream home.

“We are grateful to be alive. We are very grateful,” added Sunday.

John Wells, a cleanup volunteer in the town of Blair, just north of Omaha, said he saw extensive storm damage Friday.

“There are propane tanks that are overturned. There are houses that don’t even stand on their foundations. You don’t even know where they were,” he told KETV. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”

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More than 50 million people are threatened by severe weather Saturday, from the Southern Plains to the Great Lakes region.

“A complex but potentially significant severe weather event is expected on Saturday,” the Weather Forecast Center said on Friday.

The heaviest storms are possible beginning in the afternoon across parts of the Southern and Central Plains, where a Level 4 out of 5 Severe Thunderstorm Risk is in place. Widespread and destructive wind gusts, hail up to the size of a baseball, and strong tornadoes are the main dangers from storms.

“Several strong tornadoes will be likely, and a few long-track EF3+ tornadoes (winds between 136 and 265 mph) will be possible,” the Storm Prediction Center said.

The tornado threat could intensify significantly late this afternoon and evening, with “several strong tornadoes” possible, according to the forecast center.

Damaging storms are possible outside the highest risk zone across a wide area of ​​the country, from the Great Lakes to southern Texas.

Rain could also be a factor on Saturday.

Some areas could receive nearly 5 inches of rain in a short period of time and dangerous flash flooding could result. A handful of locations hit by multiple rounds of torrential rain could have totals near the 8-inch mark.

A Level 3 of 4 risk of excessive precipitation is in place for much of Oklahoma – including Oklahoma City and Tulsa – and smaller parts of Kansas and Texas. Intense rain could force rivers to overflow their banks and flood roads.

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Damaging storms are also possible Sunday from Texas to Wisconsin. But the exact timing, size and strength of these storms will depend heavily on Saturday night’s storms.

In particular, areas from northeast Texas to southern Iowa and western Illinois are most likely to experience damaging storms that can bring strong wind gusts and large hail. One or two isolated tornadoes are also possible.

Heavy rain and flooding are possible, especially in parts of the Lower Mississippi Valley.

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jack colman

With a penchant for words, jack began writing at an early age. As editor-in-chief of his high school newspaper, he honed his skills telling impactful stories. Smith went on to study journalism at Columbia University, where he graduated top of his class.After interning at the New York Times, jack landed a role as a news writer. Over the past decade, he has covered major events like presidential elections and natural disasters. His ability to craft compelling narratives that capture the human experience has earned him acclaim.Though writing is his passion, jack also enjoys hiking, cooking and reading historical fiction in his free time. With an eye for detail and knack for storytelling, he continues making his mark at the forefront of journalism.
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