UPDATE: Tornadoes Hit South Central Nebraska on Mother's Day
By Steve White, Grand Island Bureau Chief - bio | email
Strong storms spawned tornadoes, damaging homes and farms in south central Nebraska on Mother's Day.
NTV's First Alert Spotter team reported two homes were leveled in Sutton, as well as damage to downtown businesses, when storms hit just after 4 p.m.
The National Weather Service in Hastings reports many pivots and power poles down between Clay Center and Sutton, with severe damage to the south side of Sutton.
Other areas received hail. The Hamilton County Emergency Manager reported dime to quarter size hail south of Aurora.
The NWS also received reports of grain bins down near Fairmont, in Fillmore County.
There was also widespread damage reported between Saronville and Sutton. Numerous outbuildings were strewn across the highway, and a grain bin was down.
A feed mill was damaged in the area as well. Highway 6 in the Sutton area was closed.
On Highway 6, grain bins were knocked over. Residential neighborhoods in town saw sheds destroyed, trees covering cars, roof damage on houses and power poles partially knocked over.
"It was quick, it was very quick. It went over really fast, matter of a couple minutes," said Sutton resident Rallyn Christ. "We were in the basement, heard a crash that was one of the trees going through the window so I went upstairs to check it out; went back downstairs, heard another big boom, that was my tree behind my house had one little tree taken out of the ground thrown over against the shed."
"Now we just pick everything up, clean everything up, things are insured so we go from there," said Sutton resident Larry Nelson.
The downtown Sutton grocery store was badly damaged. Due to power outages, both Sutton Public and Sutton Christian Schools are closed on Monday.
Governor Dave Heineman and Nebraska Emergency Management officials will be in Sutton Monday morning surveying the damage. The American Red Cross is in Beaver Crossing and Cordova to help those affected by Sunday night's storms. One emergency shelter will open beginning at 11:00 p.m. in Utica to help residents impacted by the storm by offering a safe place to stay, a hot meal, minor first aid, and a shoulder to lean on.
“In the days and weeks to come, the Red Cross will be coordinating with emergency officials and local community partners to help residents impacted by tonight’s tornadoes get back on their feet,” said Jill Orton, Region Disaster Officer. “The Red Cross will keep the shelter open as long as needed, in addition to providing mobile feeding and mental health support to those affected by the storm.”