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‘Weather Service Warns of Catastrophic Damage as Powerful Tornadoes Sweep Through Nebraska and Iowa’

Devastating tornadoes have wreaked havoc across parts of eastern Nebraska and Iowa, causing catastrophic damage and injuring at least three people. The storms began in the Plains and South early Friday afternoon, resulting in a record-breaking number of tornadoes reported in a single day. The National Weather Service received at least 60 reports of tornadoes in five states, making it the busiest day for tornadoes in the U.S. in over a year.

In Iowa, Governor Kim Reynolds issued a disaster proclamation for Pottawattamie County to support storm recovery efforts in the town of Minden. Tornado warnings were also in effect for portions of the Des Moines metro area. In Nebraska, a tornado tore through the outskirts of Lincoln, causing significant damage to homes and disrupting traffic on I-80. The city of Elkhorn, near Omaha, was hit hard by the tornado, with homes being swept away and widespread damage reported.

Despite the destruction, the warning systems in Omaha and Douglas County were highly effective in alerting residents to the approaching storm, resulting in minimal injuries. However, many homes were severely damaged, displacing residents. An American Red Cross shelter has been opened in Elkhorn to provide assistance to those affected.

The severe weather also impacted transportation and infrastructure in the region. Omaha’s Eppley Airfield, the largest airport serving the area, was temporarily closed for a damage assessment. Some planes and hangars were damaged, but no injuries were reported. Additionally, multiple cars of a train derailed near Waverly, Nebraska, after being struck by a tornado.

The severe weather threat is expected to continue through Sunday, with Saturday being the most dangerous day. Cities such as Oklahoma City, Kansas City, Dallas, Milwaukee, Chicago, and Austin are at risk of damaging wind gusts, large hail, and strong tornadoes. The forecasted storms may result in significant rainfall and flash flooding in parts of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Missouri.

The atmospheric conditions leading to these severe weather events are typical for springtime. Moist air from the Gulf of Mexico combined with increasing heat in the central U.S. creates an environment conducive to robust storms. Some areas may experience severe thunderstorms for two or three consecutive days.

As the situation continues to develop, it is crucial for residents in affected areas to stay informed and follow any warnings or instructions from local authorities. The damage caused by these tornadoes serves as a reminder of the importance of preparedness and effective warning systems in mitigating the impact of severe weather events.

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