Thunderstorms, some severe, expected to begin after 1 p.m.

Thunderstorms, some severe, expected to begin after 1 p.m.
Hail in Omaha on Tuesday morning. (World-Herald News Service)


NEBRASKA CITY – Another round of thunderstorms are forecast to fire this afternoon (Tuesday) as  a warm front just south of the Nebraska-Kansas border lifts into southeast Nebraska, southwest Iowa and northwest Missouri, according to the National Weather Service.

Some of the storms are expected to become severe along and south of Interstate 80 with the primary threat being hail and damaging winds. However, tornadoes can not be ruled out in southeast Nebraska and southwest Iowa.

Otoe County Emergency Management Director Gregg Goebel says the Nebraska City area remains in a “moderate risk” for severe weather and could see storms fire after 1 p.m. and last until 11 p.m.

“The National Weather Service has four categories of risk. They start as a “slight” risk and each time it elevates, it means the probability of having severe weather increases. A lot of that is generated off of where those fronts set up and where that energy is coming into our county.”

According to Goebel, some areas could see between two to four inches of rain through the course of the storm. A flash flood watch remains in effect until Wednesday morning.

River and creek flooding is likely in many areas across the region, including the Missouri River from Blair downstream to past Rulo.

Residents with weather radios in Otoe County and the surrounding region should be aware of technical issues with the Shubert tower. The tower suffered damage this winter and repairs haven’t been made.

Deputy Director of Otoe County Emergency Management Steve Cody says the National Weather Service has reprogrammed the Essex tower to cover alerts in eastern Otoe County. Western Otoe County residents can still receive notifications from the Lincoln and Omaha towers.

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Thunderstorm dumps hail in southwest Omaha

Nearly 8,000 Omaha Public Power District customers lost power early Tuesday as a strong line of hail-producing thunderstorms moved through eastern Nebraska and western Iowa.

By 11:25 a.m., the utility company reported more than 1,180 customers still without power in Douglas County. About 55 were without power in Sarpy County.

At 4:17 a.m., the National Weather Service office in Valley issued a flash flood warning for Douglas County, northwestern Sarpy County, southern Washington County and western Pottawattamie County in Iowa.

Doppler radar indicated heavy rain across the warning area, the National Weather Service said.

Council Bluffs received 2.04 inches of rain. Omaha’s Eppley Airfield reported 1.65 inches, Valley reported 1.26 inches and the Millard Airport reported .93 of an inch of rain.

Omaha police reported several vehicles stalled in street flooding, including two vehicles near 50th and F Streets and another at the intersection of Saddle Creek Road and Hamilton Street. Before 7 a.m., a driver called 911 to say he couldn’t get out of his car near 132nd Street and West Center Road because of high water. Reports of missing manhole covers also were coming in from across the city.

Officers also reported numerous areas where street construction barricades had been blown over or were washed away. Traffic lights were without power at several locations, police reported, including 144th Street and Industrial Road and 66th and Harrison Streets.

The National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning for central Lancaster County at 5:10 a.m.

In western Nebraska Monday night, hail larger than 2 inches in diameter was reported west of Ogallala. An Omaha-bound driver counted 50 cars pulled off Interstate 80 with broken windshields after the hail moved through.

Hailstones ranging from golf ball to baseball size were reported along the I-80 corridor, said Brandon Thorne, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in North Platte. A report of baseball-sized hail was turned in by the Sutherland Fire Department, he said.

“We’ve gotten reports of hail pretty much all along I-80 from the Colorado border to Gothenburg,” Thorne said. “We had inch-and-a-quarter hail here in North Platte.”

The storm began near Fort Morgan, Colorado and tracked north on Interstate 76 before turning east into Nebraska near the intersection with I-80, Thorne said. A separate storm system ignited near Imperial, producing hail about 3 inches in diameter, he said.

In Lincoln, law enforcement reported flash flooding after more than 2 inches of rain fell.

Lincoln, Waverly, Conestoga State Recreation Area and Pawnee State Recreation Area were all in the flash flood warning area. Interstate 80 in Nebraska between mile markers 390 and 454 is also affected.