Several buildings in southwest Lincoln were damaged, some severely, Sunday evening when a powerful, tornadic storm moved through.
No reports of injuries were made to emergency dispatchers, said Ann Ames, deputy chief administrative officer for Lancaster County.
There were multiple reports of wind damage, including some apparent tornado damage. Two, possibly three, tornado touchdowns were reported to the National Weather Service.
Among the damage reported: The Dairy Sweet near Pioneers Park was destroyed, part of the roof peeled off from a Harley-Davidson store, a restaurant with people stuck inside was damaged, and a plane and property at the Lincoln Airport were damaged. A roof from one damaged building landed on Highway 2, blocking traffic.
The weather service will send a team of meteorologists to Lincoln on Monday to survey the damage and determine if and how many tornadoes occurred. Doing so is necessary to confirm a touchdown and to calculate a tornado’s intensity, size and path.
The sirens sounded in Lincoln shortly after 5:30 p.m.
Winds also damaged the Lincoln/Lancaster County 911 system, according to social media reports, but the city and county have a backup.
The weather service received a report of a brief touchdown 2 miles southeast of Malcolm, Nebraska, which is northwest of Lincoln. Jeff Bulin, a storm chaser, captured an image of what appears to be a touchdown on the west side of town near the Lincoln Airport. And there were reports that a possible tornado touched down near Pioneers Park, causing damage in that area.
Drivers were being reminded not to drive through flooded roads and to be careful about downed tree limbs.
Instability in the atmosphere spawned multiple storms across the region.
There were numerous reports of hail across Nebraska. The largest hailstones — up to baseball-size — were reported in Hamilton and Harlan Counties.
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Issued when conditions are favorable for damaging storms to develop. These watches typically cover a large area and are in effect for several hours. If a watch is issued, people should think about what they’ll do if a dangerous storm suddenly develops. For example, if you have outdoor plans, have an idea where you’ll go for shelter.
This is serious. It means that National Weather Service radar or a storm spotter has detected or seen a powerful storm. These types of storms are capable of causing serious damage, either from hail that is larger than an inch or winds that are in excess of 58 mph. These are targeted to just the area in the storm’s path, unlike a watch, which covers many counties. If you are outdoors and in the path of the storm, seek shelter or try to pull off the road to avoid driving in the storm. These storms can generate tornadoes with little warning.
Conditions are favorable for tornadoes to develop. Watches are issued for large areas and generally for a long period of time. Sometimes watches cover portions of several states and can last for hours. Have a plan for what you’ll do if a tornado suddenly develops. More serious is a tornado warning.
Head for shelter! Tornado warnings are issued when radar has detected rotation in a cloud or a storm spotter has seen a tornado. Take cover immediately if a warning is issued for your area. Even though you may not see the tornado, it could be there, hidden in rain, or it could drop from the sky above you without warning. Warnings typically last about 30 minutes. Local sirens will sound when warnings are issued. But keep in mind that some sirens could be disabled by the tornado, so you may not hear one.
A violent swirling column of air that stretches from a cloud to the ground, with winds in excess of 65 mph. Winds with a tornado can reach 300 mph or more. If you are watching a tornado and can’t tell what direction it is traveling in, then it is traveling toward you.
A swirling column of air that extends downward from a cloud but doesn’t reach the ground.
Hail must be 1-inch wide to be considered damaging. Keep in mind that wind direction often determines which side of a building or car is damaged.
A tornado that isn’t spawned by a powerful storm cell and typically stretches to the ground from a towering, but less threatening cloud. A waterspout occurs over water.