Sirens Sound in GI as Area Hit with Large Hail, Heavy Rain
By Steve White, Grand Island Bureau Chief - bio | email
The sirens sounded Friday evening, as Grand Island was pummeled with tennis ball sized hail and heavy rains.
Grand Island was especially hard hit, with reports of extended periods of hail. There are reports of car windows broken out and street lights damaged. NTV viewers said skylights were broken in the Walmart North store. NTV also received photos of downed trees that damaged cars and property.
Water was reported over Highway 11 south of Dannebrog. Law enforcement barricaded the highway due to flooding. At least four inches of rain fell in Boelus.
Seventy mile an hour winds swept through Hastings and Prosser among other communities.
Damage was reported in several towns, including Ord, Cotesfield, Cairo, Rockville, Cambridge, Wood River, Litchfield, Shelton and others.
In Grand Island, where the sirens sounded, many took to social media to question that, saying they felt the sirens were only for tornadoes, and the city was never in a tornado warning.
However, the Grand Island / Hall County Emergency Management Department has a set of criteria, saying sirens are "not simply for tornadoes."
The policy states sirens can be sounded for a number of events requiring residents to take shelter:
Tornado Warnings issued by the National Weather Service.
Confirmed tornadoes or funnel clouds by NWS spotters.
Straight line winds confirmed above 75 mph.
Tennis ball sized hail (2.5" in diameter).
Large hazardous materials releases requiring residents shelter in place.
In this case, there was at least 2.5" hail reported in the city.