Pillen Issues Disaster Declaration For Storms, Tornadoes


     Nebraska Governor Jim Pillen has issued an emergency declaration for Douglas, Washington, and Lancaster counties for damage from a series of thunderstorms and tornadoes from Thursday to Saturday. 

     The declaration allows for the use of the Governor’s Emergency Fund to pay for some of the damage resulting from the storms. 

     In issuing the disaster declaration, Pillen said there was “significant damage” to private and public property and infrastructure in the 3 counties that present a burden on the storm-impacted areas and require state resources for recovery.

     Pillen directed Nebraska Adjutant General Major General Craig Strong, who also serves as State Disaster Coordinator, to activate appropriate state emergency plans and to take any needed steps to alleviate the threat to life and property. 

    The governor also called on the state and appropriate federal agencies to cooperate in the effort. 

     The National Weather Service issued 41 tornado warnings on Friday, shattering its one-day Nebraska record of 33 set just last May. Tornado strikes were reported from Lancaster County to north of Omaha.

    Erv Portis of the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency told reporters the full scope of damage, including homes and businesses lost, was still being determined but that Douglas County had already tallied more than 150 lost homes plus 4 hangers at Eppley Airfield with 32 privately owned planes inside.

     No fatalities were reported and fewer than two dozen people were treated at Omaha-area hospitals. Dr Lindsay Huse, health director of the Douglas County Health Department, called the number “Miraculous” and stressed that none of Omaha’s injuries were serious. Neighboring communities reported a handful of injuries each.

     An industrial building in Lancaster County was hit and collapsed Thursday with 70 people inside. Several were trapped, but everyone was evacuated safely with only 3 overall injuries – none of them life-threatening.