Flooding on Monday caused more damage in parts of Nebraska, but there’s good news: The severe weather that’s been dogging the region for nearly two weeks comes to an end Tuesday.
But not without one last round of potentially dangerous weather.
Final round of storms could be big
More rain, damaging hail, strong winds and possibly tornadoes are on tap Tuesday, with the severe weather moving in during the afternoon and evening.
On Tuesday morning, residents in the Nebraska City area woke up to temperatures at 55 degrees with rainy conditions — not exactly a recipe for severe weather – however, severe storms with quarter-size hail and 60 mph wind gusts rumbled through Otoe, Cass, Fremont and Mills Counties.
Van DeWald, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Valley, cautioned against being lulled into complacency.
The morning chill will be thanks to a lingering cold front. However, a warm front is rolling northward, and wherever in the central U.S. the two fronts collide is where the worst of the storms will spark, he said. In some parts of southeast Nebraska, Tuesday afternoon could usher in the highest risk for severe weather of the last two weeks, according to the U.S. Storm Prediction Center.
Travelers on Tuesday should pay close attention to forecasts and changing conditions if they will be on the road in the afternoon and evening. That’s particularly true from eastern Nebraska across Iowa into Illinois and south into Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma.
Once storms move out Tuesday night, the region should catch a break from the storm warnings, DeWald said. A slight chance of rainy weather is in the forecast on Wednesday and Thursday, but by Friday, the sun should be shining, and the weekend could be dry.
Storms possible again this afternoon and evening. Some storms, especially in southeast NE and southwest IA, could be strong to severe. Be sure you have multiple ways to receive warnings later today. #newx #iawx pic.twitter.com/R39L5iXGVx
— NWS Omaha (@NWSOmaha) May 28, 2019
New flood damage
Record rain fell in south-central Nebraska, and flash flooding in some places was worse than occurred in March, officials said. The Hastings office of the National Weather Service is the official recording station for weather in that area. By 7 a.m. Monday, 1.86 inches of rain had fallen, breaking the previous record for the date of 1.71 inches set in 2012. With more rain in the forecast Monday, it was possible the record would become even more entrenched.
Across south-central Nebraska, 3 to 5 inches of rain fell Sunday and Monday — on already soggy ground.
“That fills up a lot of small river basins that eventually fill up larger ones,” said Julia Berg, meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Hastings. “And we had two shots of rain in about the same location, which exacerbated any flooding.”
Flooding reports in south-central Nebraska
» In Furnas and Harlan Counties, Nebraska, south of Kearney near the Kansas border, emergency managers report that gravel roads that haven’t washed out in decades were washed out by flooding. Roads just repaired from the March floods were damaged again.
» Crystal Lake State Recreation Area, south of Hastings, was evacuated due to flooding on the Little Blue River.
» In the Omaha metro area, flooding led to a temporary closure of the eastbound lanes of the West Dodge Expressway around 4:45 a.m. Monday. The lanes were reopened by 8 a.m. Overnight rainfall at Eppley Airfield totaled 1.24 inches. A reporting station in Florence had 1.14 inches.
» Southwest of Columbus, flooding caused the closure of U.S. Highway 81. At one point, the Polk County emergency manager’s office reported up to 4 feet of water on Highway 81/92 west of Shelby. The emergency manager’s office told the weather service that the flooding was worse than what occurred in March.
Storms were to pummel western Nebraska Monday night before moving on to the eastern side of the state Tuesday morning. All of north-central and northwest Nebraska was under a flash flood watch overnight.
By mid-evening Monday, hail as big as 2.25 inches across was reported in Ogallala by a storm chaser. Pingpong ball sized hail and larger disabled some vehicles on Interstate 80 near Ogallala, according to dispatch reports there.
For 24 hours ending at 7 p.m. Monday, in inches:
Omaha, Eppley 1.24
Omaha, Millard 1.18
Council Bluffs 1.03
Flash Flood Watch
The National Weather Service in Omaha/Valley has issued a * Flash Flood Watch for portions of southwest Iowa and Nebraska, including the following areas, in southwest Iowa, Fremont, Mills, Montgomery, Page, and Pottawattamie. In Nebraska, Cass, Douglas, Johnson, Nemaha, Otoe, Pawnee, Richardson, and Sarpy. * Through Wednesday morning * Several rounds of thunderstorms are expected to roll across the region through tonight, with total rainfall ranging from 1 to 3 inches. And with saturated soils from recent rains, additional rainfall will runoff quickly and could lead to flash flooding. * Low-lying and flood-prone areas will be most susceptible to the dangers of flash flooding. Areas near rivers, creeks, and streams will likely become flooded during and immediately after heavy rainfall. Be very careful if driving at night as flood waters are very hard to see. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS... A Flash Flood Watch means that conditions may develop that lead to flash flooding. Flash flooding is a very dangerous situation. You should monitor later forecasts and be prepared to take action should Flash Flood Warnings be issued.