US: Tornadoes sweep through Nebraska, Iowa; at least nine people injured

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Washington, DC [US], April 27: At least nine people were injured when tornadoes swept through parts of Nebraska and Iowa in the US on Friday, levelling dozens of houses and causing the collapse of an industrial building.
At least three people were injured after tornadoes hit places in Nebraska, including Waverly and Lincoln, where an industrial building was destroyed, according to officials. Two people were taken to hospital and hundreds of houses were damaged in western Omaha, according to police.
At least four people were injured and dozens of homes were destroyed after a tornado hit Minden in Iowa, officials in Pottawattamie County said. Governor Kim Reynolds issued a disaster proclamation for the county, and meteorologists also confirmed a tornado east of Des Moines.
The National Weather Service stated that it had received over 95 reports of tornadoes in at least five states in the Great Plains on Friday. The tornado left half the town “badly damaged” in Minden, with about 40 to 50 homes destroyed, said Jeff Theulen, the chief deputy with the Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s Office.
About 120 homes and businesses were damaged across the county, according to the statement released by the county Emergency Management Agency.
Theulen said, “There were several gas leaks, wires down, a lot of debris.” He added, “So it’s a very dangerous area right now.”
The entrances to Minden have been closed except to residents, and a curfew has been imposed in the city from 10 pm (local time) to 6 am (local time), county officials said, declaring a state of emergency.
The sheriff’s office responded to an industrial building at Garner Industries in Lancaster County, Neb at around 3 pm (local time) and found it “pretty much totally collapsed” with several people trapped inside, according to Chief Deputy Ben Houchin. He stated that three people were rushed to the hospital with minor injuries, adding that roughly 70 people were inside when the tornado struck.
Chief Houchin said the sheriff’s office received reports of a derailed train in Waverly, adding, “They didn’t require any emergency assistance, so we’re hoping it’s very minor,” according to The New York Times report.
At a news conference on Friday, Todd Schmaderer, the Omaha police chief, said that a tornado “took out a number of houses” in western Omaha. Lt Neal Bonacci of the city’s police said two people were hospitalised with minor injuries.
In a post on X, the Omaha Police Department said that emergency personnel were helping those in the path of the tornado. Eppley Airfield in Omaha has been temporarily shut due to the storm, the airport said on social media.
Later, it confirmed that a tornado had touched down there. The airport said that the passengers were taken to storm shelters, noting that although the terminal was not impacted. However, “a number of buildings in the General Aviation area on the east side of airport property sustained damage.”
The airport said that there were no reports of any injuries. Melanie Colton (44) said she was preparing to pick up her children from school when she witnessed the funnel cloud appear and it started to head toward her in-laws’ farm home, outside Waverly.
She said, “The house is really unlivable.” She added, “A lot of the windows are broken out, and there’s a tree through the roof. The two sheds in the backyard are destroyed, with debris from the sheds spread out about two miles.”
Colton’s in-laws, who have lived in the house for 46 years, said that no one was injured, except for the family horse, Shasta. The community came forward for help and more than a dozen people were seen moving debris into trash bins.
Colton said, “We’re really appreciative and grateful for all the manpower we’ve already received to get this house back to livable.”
Several homes in Bennington, Elkhorn and Waterloo in Douglas County, Nebraska, were severely damaged, according to officials. People were displaced, however, no serious injuries were reported, officials said.
Waverly’s city administrator Stephanie Fisher said there were no reports of injuries or damage within the city. She said, “I’ve been told that a business outside of the city between Waverly and Lincoln has been hit by the tornado, and there’s a large amount of emergency personnel out there.”
Two people who were injured in the tornadoes in Lancaster County underwent treatment at the Bryan Trauma Centre at Bryan West Campus, according to hospital spokesperson, Brad Colee.
There is a possibility of a widespread risk of dangerous weather on Saturday, potentially spreading from Texas to Michigan. As of early Saturday, there were over 30,000 power outages in Texas, according to a site that tracks outages.
Oklahoma City, Kansas City and Dallas could experience severe storms. Furthermore, damaging winds and hail are possible. The threat of severe thunderstorms will continue to remain until Sunday, including areas from southeast Texas to western Illinois, the report said.
There is less likely that storms will occur, however, there will still be some risk of storms forming that could result in a couple of tornadoes.

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