Beaver Crossing, NE -
Beaver Crossing officials say recovery is a work in progress, and won't be finished anytime soon. But the tornado that left $1 million in damage in its wake has given some people a chance to add on, build new, and be better prepared if the worst should happen again. Ed Munsterman takes a break from picking up around his Beaver Crossing home. It's work that was put on hold three months ago. “Getting ready to try to sell it… well then the tornado came along,” says Munsterman.
An EF-3 tornado tore through the village on May 11, Mother's Day, destroying more than 30 homes and buildings. In the aftermath, village officials say 6,000 volunteers logged 40,000 hours helping pick up 5.6 million pounds of debris. Three months later, ruined buildings like the old school are still coming down as rebuilding work continues around town. But the community is noticeably different. “Got it pretty well cleaned up, there's still some places that have a little bit to be done, but it's in pretty good shape compared to a lot of towns that went through the same thing,” says Munsterman. Federal Emergency Management Agency mitigation specialists have been spending a few days at an informational booth at Beaver Hardware and Supply. Mitigation Outreach Advisor Kathleen Reed says they're not bringing financial assistance to property owners, but rather information, like free storm shelter plans.
“Free publications, information, websites they can go to -- just to help them to be more prepared for when the next storm comes,” says Reed.
Reed says little fixes like extra nails on a shingle can make a big difference as a person rebuilds, but they aren't things everyone thinks about.
“Reinforced garage doors -- a lot of times the winds will compromise a garage door, allow the wind to get inside and that can sometimes take your roof off,” she says.
It will be someone else using these tips to fix up Munsterman's house -- his family is moving to Lincoln, one of several that won't be rebuilding in Beaver Crossing. But he says he'll be back to visit friends and to help the town keep moving forward.
“It has seemed to draw the community together. A lot of times you'll see something like this and it just puts a wedge between them, and they, they just go their own separate ways, but everybody seemed to work pretty much together,” says Munsterman.
FEMA Specialists Information --
Beaver Crossing: - Aug. 18 and 19; 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. - Beaver Hardware and Supply, 808 Dimery Ave.
Seward: - Aug. 18 and 19; 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. - Seward Lumber and Home Center, 142 S. 7th St.
Kearney: - Aug. 21-25; 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. - Menard's, 6411 First Avenue
Norfolk: - Aug. 21-25; 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. - Menard's, 2311 Taylor Ave.