Hampton, NE -
Janet Klawonn says it was after 10 p.m. when the storm approached their rural Hampton home.
“Lights flickered a few times, didn’t think anything of it, the power went out and it got really windy, really fast,” she says.
Klawonn, her father, step-brother, and fiancé heard wood breaking above them as they sheltered in their basement. They found a bigger mess when the winds died down and they went upstairs.
“We started seeing rain and water come in through all the light fixtures, started coming in through the walls, started coming in from everywhere,” says Klawonn.
The family is staying positive after a confirmed tornado peeled off the roof of their six year old home, calling the holes “a very good natural light source,” and joking about increased ventilation. But it’s been a long night and day of packing belongings for a move they weren’t planning on making.
“We came back out and we saw that the roof was actually gone, it was just… mind-numbing, you can’t fully understand it,” says Klawonn.
Hamilton County Emergency Manager Kirt Smith says that home, another that lost its roof, and blown over train cars are evidence of fierce winds that caused damage from Marquette to Hampton. Reports of golf ball sized hail are confirmed by shredded trees, grass, and crops.
“Grain bins, lot of outbuildings, lot of crop damage, pivots blown over in that area,” says Smith.
Smith says early warnings made residents aware of the severe storm threat.
“You know kind of led up to that anticipation, knowing it was going to happen, seemed like, oh it isn’t going to happen, but it came and it kept coming and kept coming last night, but I believe everybody was prepared well,” he says.
Smith says no one was injured in Hamilton County, something Klawonn counts as a blessing as they keep picking up.
“It was a real eerie feeling because you didn’t know exactly what was going on, you just prayed that everything was going to be okay, that everyone was going to be okay,” she says. “Really thankful of all the friends and family that have come out to help.”