One Dead Following Violent Storms

By: Randy Lube
By: Randy Lube

Authorities say a 73-year-old woman died Saturday night in the tornado that struck the village of Hallam south of Lincoln.

Authorities have not yet released the woman's name.

Gov. Mike Johanns says that besides the death, there have been no serious injuries reported from the storm that spawned more than a dozen tornadoes.

Johanns is expressing shock at the devastation wrought on the tiny southeast Nebraska town of Hallam.

Johanns arrived in Hallam just after 10 a.m. Sunday, hours after a twister leveled the town.

The governor was stunned by the amount of damage, which includes flattened houses and buildings and overturned vehicles.

Johanns says he has never seen such complete devastation in all his years of public service.

The smell of natural gas lingers in the air at Hallam, despite breezy conditions.

Several railroad grain cars were knocked off their tracks in the middle of town. The remains of a 50 foot grain silo draped over them like a soggy paper cup.

Pieces of twisted metal hung from bark-stripped trees and are creaking in the breeze.

Pat O'Brien, commander of the Hallam Rescue team says he is unsure whether the town was hit by just one tornado, saying that 80-percent of the buildings in Hallam received some type of damage and many were destroyed.

O'Brien said, "If it was one tornado, it was a pretty big one."

Those on the scene say the town is mostly destroyed, with houses and buildings collapsed and vehicles flipped over.

Authorities say that Norris High School near Firth sustained heavy damage. The roof to the auditorium is gone and the walls sustained damage.

Some areas reported four to six inches of rain and widespread flash flooding.

Ten homes were destroyed in Wilber and Swanton in Saline County, where law enforcement confirmed tornadoes.


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