Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Storms Barrel across Middle of U.S. Tornadoes, Hail Riddle Neb., Kan

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Storms Barrel across Middle of U.S. Tornadoes, Hail Riddle Neb., Kan

Article excerpt

OMAHA, Neb. -- More than a dozen possible tornadoes were reported Saturday as forecasters warned residents across the nation's midsection to brace for "life-threatening" weather.

An apparent tornado took down barns, outbuildings and large trees in southeast Nebraska, and Johnson County emergency director Clint Strayhorn said he was still trying to determine how long the twister was on the ground and how much damage it did.

"I'm on a 2-mile stretch that this thing is on the ground and I haven't even gotten to the end of it yet," he said as he walked the path of destruction near the Johnson-Nemaha county line. He described a line of downed trees and a barn that was destroyed. He didn't immediately know of any injuries.

In northeast Nebraska, Boone County Sheriff David Spiegel said baseball-size hail damaged vehicles, shattered windows and tore siding from houses in and around Petersburg, about 140 miles northwest of Omaha.

Two possible tornadoes were reported farther south in Nebraska near the Kansas border and as many as 10 others were reported in largely rural parts of western and central Kansas, including one north of Dodge City that was said to be on the ground for a half- hour, weather officials said. An old schoolhouse and outbuildings were damaged in Hodgeman County in western Kansas and a home was damaged near Lorretta in Rush County in central Kansas.

In Salina, tornado sirens sounded after a possible tornado was spotted near the central Kansas community. National Weather Service meteorologist Mike Scott said tornadoes also were reported near Sawyer in Pratt County, near Seward in Stafford County, near Timken and Rush Center in Rush County and near Hanston in Hodgeman County.

Sharon Watson, spokeswoman for the Kansas Division of Emergency Management, said officials will continue to monitor the storm into early today.

"The challenge on this particular storm is the severity level that is being forecast across so much of the state. It is one that is causing us much concern and requiring a lot of attention to determine exactly what is happening," she said. …

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