Update Tornado Destroys Home Near Aurora

By: KOLNKGIN
By: KOLNKGIN
Cleanup is underway near Aurora after a tornado destroyed a house and high winds damaged a pet food plant west of town Wednesday night.  The twister also derailed several rail cars.  Power crews are working on outages across south-central Nebraska.

Tornado west of Aurora, Neb. Wednesday, June 17, 2009.

Cleanup is underway near Aurora after a tornado destroyed a house and high winds damaged a pet food plant west of town Wednesday night. The twister also derailed several rail cars. Power crews are working on outages across south-central Nebraska.

A National Weather Service team checked the damage Thursday and said the tornado ran a quarter mile south of the P&G Pet Care plant Wednesday night.

The tornado destroyed a house and outbuildings, knocked down power poles and overturned about a dozen railroad cars nearby.

Weather Service spokesman Larry Wirth says powerful winds associated with the tornado raked the plant, knocking off roofing and siding material.

The assessment team rated the tornado an EF2 on the enhanced Fujita scale, with winds between 111 and 135 mph.

No injuries were reported.

The twister dissipated about two miles west of Aurora.

Mayor Marlin Seeman says the high winds "tore up quite a bit of their storage facility," which is a big metal shed at the P & G plant.

Emergency responders blocked media access to the damaged areas Wednesday night.

"From the video I saw of the house on the police cameras, it appears two walls were removed and two left standing," said Aurora Mayor Marlin Seeman.

The mayor says there were no reports of damage in town.

Mayor Seeman said the town pulled together to help people affected by a tornado that struck near Aurora in May, 2008. He said he expects the same type of response to this storm. He said last year's storm helped officials learn how to handle these types of emergencies.

A group of storm spotters from Ilinois witnessed the storm first hand. Meteorology Professor Paul Sirvatka said the team spotted a few funnel clouds touch the ground just west of Aurora, and redevelopment into a significant twister.

"The tornado started out kind of in an atypical condensation funnel, up high and then started to swirl debris -- a lot of dust in the air," said Sirvatka, who estimates the tornado reached a width of about a quarter mile.

Southern Power District reports on it's twitter site that much of the power has been been restored to its customers in south central Nebraska.

To Report Outages: 1-888-484-2470.


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