Update: Tornado Rips Nebraska House, But Family Unharmed

By: Kim Eiten
By: Kim Eiten

One family is repairing and rebuilding tonight. It comes after a tornado ripped through Platte County, leveling their home.

The storm struck the farm around 5:30 p.m. Thursday.

The farmstead sits about two miles west and a mile north of the Platte County village of Cornlea.

"The sun was shining and I looked out the kitchen window and sure enough, there was two twisters," home owner Bryan Herchenbach said.

Herchenbach and his family watched the tornado approach through the window.

"I told my wife, I said we need to go downstairs now," Herchenbach said.

"We watched it for just a couple seconds and then we went down to the basement," his wife Jenny Herchenbach said.

Then, the storm hit.

"The impact hit," Bryan Herchenbach said. "Glass blew and we could barely hold the door shut."

But they did. In the process, they saved themselves and three of their children.

"It's just one of those supernatural things where you're like this isn't happening," Jenny Herchenbach said.

In the calm after the storm, Jenny went out of the room first, then the kids and then Bryan.

"She came back crying and I said, 'I know. I know it's gone.' And, it was. It was just sky, blue sky.," Bryan Herchenbach said.

With the power of the storm it only took a few minutes to reduce the house to rubble. Only one kitchen wall and two columns remained standing.

Landon Hemmer watched it all happen. He was the man behind the camera, just down the road.

"We thought maybe we should catch it on video because it's a once in a lifetime experience to see it," Hemmer said.

In the process, he witnessed the destruction of their neighbor's home.

"We were scared at first, not of what had happened but if the family was alright," Hemmer said. "We waited for after the tornado to lift up then we got in the car to go check on them right away."

Dozens of others in the community did the same. And, they came back Friday to help clear debris. It's the start of a long process.

"We're going to clean up and rebuild and move on," Bryan Herchenbach said.

"My family's okay and that's what's important," Jenny Herchenbach said.

Platte County Emergency Manager Tim Hofbauer said preliminary reports estimate the tornado as an EF-2.

He said for that level of tornado, the damage in this case is extensive.

Click on the link below to see the amazing tornado video captured by viewers.


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