A fast-moving, intense, severe thunderstorm roared into Omaha early today, bringing strong winds, rain and hail.
Most of the hail damage occurred from West Maple Road north to Ida Street and from 99th Street west to 120th Street, said Austin Rowser, Omaha street maintenance engineer.
One city truck with a plow and a front-end loader were dispatched to the area to free up clogged roadways and inlets blocked by hail and leaves, Rowser said.
Northwest Omaha took the brunt of the storm's fury. North-central and northeast Omaha also were hit.
Around 3 a.m., the National Weather Service office in Valley issued a severe thunderstorm warning for Douglas County and Pottawattamie County.
A Douglas County official in the area of 168th Street and West Maple Road reported “visibility of about two feet’’ at 3:30 a.m., with hail building up “like a sheet of ice” on some roads.
Damaging hail, anywhere from dime-and nickel-sized to half-dollar and golf-ball-sized, was spotted from 168th to 156th Streets and West Maple Road about 3:15 a.m. Winds estimated at 40 to 50 mph also were reported.
Douglas County 911 dispatchers tweeted reports of tree limbs in roadways from about 97th to 170th Streets along Maple.
An Omaha police officer told dispatchers that he helped a motorist out of a hail drift' around 90th Street and Blair High Road. Other motorists were waiting for a snow shovel to dig out, he said.
Later, reports came in of hail 18 to 24 inches deep and vehicles stuck in impassable road conditions at Military Avenue east of 90th Street, 36th and Forest Lawn, 88th and Browne and 108th and Hartman.
Hail, some downed tree limbs and leaves stripped from trees by the hail left some storm sewers clogged in northwest Omaha after rain continued to fall.
The storm moved east after 3:30 a.m., tracking toward north Omaha and on into western Iowa.
The city did not receive any reports of trees down in northwest Omaha, Rowser said, but some limbs were brought down by a combination of high winds and hail.
Around 5:30 a.m., another round of storms packing heavy rain, lightning and stiff winds pushed through parts of Omaha, leaving behind standing water in some locations and roadways due to storm sewers already clogged by downed limbs and leaves.
By 6 a.m., calls to 911 dispatchers included 4 inches of mud over the roadway at 180th and Blondo Streets and a vehicle submerged in hail and standing water up to its door frame at 214 Street and West Maple Road.
Later, fast-moving water could be seen racing through the 214th and West Maple area.
Wednesday morning, the weather issued flood warnings for several locations in Nebraska and Iowa:
— Wahoo Creek at Wahoo, 5.5 feet above flood stage.
— Wahoo Creek at Ithaca, 1.1 feet above flood stage.
— Nishnabotna River at Hamburg in Fremont County (Iowa), 2 feet above flood stage.
— Missouri River at Nebraska City, affecting Fremont and Otoe (Nebraska) Counties, 0.9 feet below flood stage.
— Missouri River at Brownville, affecting Atchison (Missouri) and Nemaha (Nebraska) Counties, 2.4 feet above flood stage.
— Missouri River at Rulo, affecting Holt (Missouri) and Richardson (Nebraska) Counties, 2.3 feet above flood stage.
Around 7:25 a.m., authorities closed North 168th State between Ida and State Streets because of roadway flooding.
Cathy Zapotocny of the weather service said a cold front moving into the area from the west, an upper-level weather system and abundant moisture combined early today to unleash the hail, winds and rain on the Omaha area.
She said more storms were heading northeast out of Kansas, taking aim at southeast Nebraska, northeast Kansas and northwest Missouri today.
The storms and another system likely to push into the region Friday are expected to leave behind cooler conditions, Zapotocny said, with a high Saturday of just 58.
"It will be much cooler for the weekend,'' she said.
Eastern Nebraska rainfall totals in inches for the 24 hours ending at 7 a.m. Wednesday: Albion, 1.45; Beatrice, .33; Blair, .68; Columbus, 1.90; Falls City, 1.47; Fremont, 1.14; Lincoln, .62; Nebraska City, .80; Norfolk, 1.65; Offutt Air Force Base, .91; Eppley Airfield, 1.10; Millard, 0.62; Florence, 1.67; Plattsmouth, .36; Valley, 2.18; Wahoo, 2.24; Wayne, .51.
The latest Omaha-area forecast, according to the weather service:
Today — Showers and thunderstorms before noon, then a slight chance of showers between noon and 3 p.m. Some of the storms could produce heavy rain. A high near 66.
Tonight — Partly cloudy with a low around 49.
Thursday — Sunny with a high near 69 and west-northwest winds gusting as high as 25 mph.
Thursday night — Clear with a low around 46.
Friday — A 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms, mainly after 1 p.m., with a high near 67 with south winds gusting as high as 30 mph.
Friday night — Mostly clear with a low around 41.
Saturday — Mostly sunny with a high near 58.
Saturday night — Partly cloudy with a low around 44.
Sunday — Mostly sunny with a high near 63.
Sunday night — Mostly cloudy with a low around 45.
Monday — A chance of showers with a high near 62.
Monday night — A chance of showers with a low around 47.
Tuesday — A chance of showers with a high near 65.