LINCOLN -- Damage%205-11-14.JPG" style="width: 250px; height: 188px; float: left;" />Damage assessment continues from yesterday's severe storms and tornadoes that roared across south-central and southeast Nebraska. One of the hardest hit areas of the state was about 30 miles west of Lincoln in southwestern Seward County, where apparent tornadoes touched down and did damage around the Cordova and Beaver Crossing areas. Deputy Director of Emergency Management Tom Hiser tells KFOR NEWS well-intentioned people are asked to please stay out of Seward County until Tuesday, when a volunteer center will be set up in Utica at Centennial High School. Until that center is up and running, PLEASE do not go to Beaver Cross or Cordova to help. It may be sometime Monday that Governor Heineman could issue a State Disaster Declaration for areas of south-central and southeastern Nebraska affected by tornadoes and severe thunderstorms. Heineman surveyed severe storm and tornado damage in Beaver Crossing, Cordova, Sutton and surrounding communities.
The storm first got going in the Clay Center, in south-central Nebraska, then traveled toward Sutton, where it knocked down trees everywhere and caused power outages. Sutton Police Chief Tracey Landenberger thinks he's the only person injured. His police cruiser got hit during the worst moments of the storm. The storm knocked down several farm outbuildings west of Sutton and blew debris across U.S. Highway 6, forcing officials to close the highway. Minor damage was reported in the community to the east of Hastings.
Once the storm moved through York, Fillmore and Seward counties, sirens sounded in Lincoln and much of the northern part of Lancaster County when tornado warnings were issued around 5:45 Sunday afternoon, due to a tornado reported southwest of Seward and moving east. Northwest Lincoln, Malcolm and Raymond were the areas in the affected path. Lancaster County Emergency Management interim director Mark Hosking tells KFOR News they are working to verify if a tornado did damage to a home south of Raymond. He says several spots from Malcolm all the way over to Waverly had reports of damage. Hosking did tell KFOR News that an off-duty sheriff's deputy reported tornado southeast of Davey. Assessment teams will continue to survey the area. The National Weather Service says parts of York County got 5 inches or more of rain on Sunday. Lincoln Airport received nearly an inch and a half of rain between 7 and 8 p.m., and meteorologist Mike Moritz says Omaha's Florence neighborhood got an inch in an hour. Thousands of people lost power during the storms that spawned tornadoes and straight-line wind gusts of more than 70 mph. Omaha Public Power District says more than 6,200 customers were still without power at 5:45 a.m. Monday, including more than 5,400 in Douglas County. Weather service officials are also working to see if it was a tornado that touchdown and knocked off the second floor of a home in the Elkhorn area of far northwest Omaha.
PHOTO: Storm damage from Beaver Crossing in southwestern Seward County. (Jen Rae Wang/Governor Heineman Rep)