By Steve White, Grand Island Bureau Chief - bio | email
North Loup suffered extensive tree damage
A hundred-year-old tree was splintered in Ord
The roof was ripped off the old Wolbach grocery store
Fierce storms slam central Nebraska, as hail, high winds, even tornadoes strike across a wide area, including several counties just north of the tri-cities.
"It got kind of scary around here last night," Melissa Smith of North Loup said.
Chainsaws roared as the tree piles grew in the Valley County community. Melissa Smith's yard showed the aftermath of a brutal storm that pounded central Nebraska.
She said, "A branch hit the porch and power went out instantly."
Tree damage was reported in several towns. And while the National Weather Service investigates tornado reports, much of the damage was from winds 70 miles an hour or stronger.
North Loup Fire Chief Daryl Jorgensen said, "Last night I drove around, every block had a tree down somewhere on a car, on a house, on a roof."
The old grocery store in Wolbach suffered extensive damage.
"Peeled it back just like a tin can," volunteer firefighter Justin Killinger said.
Hundred-year-old trees were splintered in Ord. North Loup was among the hardest hit.
Melissa's family was okay, even the dog. She said Roscoe was in his dog house, and survived, as tree branches fell all around, but not on him.
Her mom Peggy Griffin watched from St. Paul, with memories of another June Third in her mind, the one she survived in Grand Island 34 years ago on the "Night of the Twisters."
"We just have to be ready and be prepared," Peggy said.
This storm came with days of advance notice. Emergency responders said it appears people heeded those warnings, and stayed safe.
Justin Killinger said, "Everybody knew about the storm chasers lining up in Grand Island and around the area, a lot of warning, which made it nice."
"Everybody was prepared for it I think, had flashlights and kits all set up for them," Daryl Jorgensen said.
Irrigation pipe knocked out power at a NPPD substation near North Loup, but power was restored within a few hours. There's also crop damage, and overturned pivots.
For as widespread as the storms were, residents like Melissa Smith say they're thankful they weren't stronger, and they appreciate the help as they quickly clean up.
"We have great people around here to help us out," she said.
Sirens sounded in towns like Ord and Wolbach, and while there wasn't as much damage as some feared, emergency officials say the Mother's Day tornadoes that hit Sutton and Beaver Crossing were fresh in their minds, so they didn't take any chances.