LINCOLN -- The thought of severe storms developing over central and eastern Nebraska on Tuesday, falls on a day 34 years ago when one community was feeling the wrath of Mother Nature. Gary Buchanan, who is president and chief operating officer of KFOR's parent company Three Eagles Communications, was working in radio in Grand Island when the "Night of The Twisters" hit on June 3, 1980. He tells KFOR News he spent the evening covering the tornado outbreak from a station transmitter, on the phone with then National Weather Service meteorologist Don Davis getting information on the storm's movement, which proved to be key in tracking its progress. Buchanan tells KFOR News driving toward the South Locust Street business district the next day, it looked like a bomb went off. But he says the storm brought the community together in a time of tragedy, thanks to the leadership of then Mayor Bob Kriz. After coming home the next day, Buchanan said he had some tree damage on his home and remembers gathering all of the staff at the radio station to make sure everyone was okay. The storm destroyed 475 living units and 49 businesses, with a total damage of nearly 300 million dollars. Only five people died, 200 others were hurt.
One of the seven tornadoes that hit Grand Island on June 3, 1980. (Photo Courtesy of Rod Gartner)