FRIDAY UPDATES: Tornadoes rip through Omaha metro, leaving behind damage and destruction (2024)

Timeline of updates on Friday’s severe weather

By 6 News staff reports

Published: Apr. 26, 2024 at 12:58 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 26, 2024 at 3:05 PM CDT

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Severe weather raced through the Omaha area Friday, with heavy rain, large hail, strong winds, and several confirmed tornadoes leaving behind damage and destruction.

Updates on information as we receive them:

7:50 p.m. -- The American Red Cross has opened two shelters to assist victims of today’s storms. Volunteers are on hand at the Common Ground Community Center on Veterans Drive in Elkhorn, and the First Lutheran Church in Blair.

Nebraska’s junior U.S. Senator Pete Ricketts issued this statement following Friday’s tornadoes:

Susanne and I are praying for everyone impacted by today’s severe weather. My office is in touch with Governor Pillen and prepared to assist with requests for any federal resources that may be needed as we recover from today’s tornadoes.

Gov. Jim Pillen released this statement:

Suzanne and I extend our deepest prayers to all those impacted by today’s storms. I have ordered that state resources be made available to assist with the emergency response and to support local first responders as they assess the damage. Nebraskans are tough, resilient people, and our neighbors and communities will rally around affected families and businesses to assist them. Nebraskans are no strangers to severe weather and, as they have countless times before, Nebraskans will help Nebraskans to rebuild.

7 p.m. -- The Tornado Watch that was in place for much of the area has been allowed to expire. A watch remains in place until 9 p.m. for the far eastern counties of the WOWT viewing area -- namely Cass, Adams, Taylor, Audubon, Crawford and Carroll Counties in Iowa, and Atchison, Holt and Nodaway Counties in Missouri.

A handful of Tornado Warnings remain effective to the east, affecting portions of Crawford, Carroll and Shelby counties in Iowa.

6:56 p.m. -- Brookside Church in Elkhorn tells 6 News it is open for anyone needing a place to go. Snacks and bottled water are available for victims and first responders.

The Omaha Airport Authority is reporting a tornado did touch down around 5:08 p.m. The airport was closed and passengers were directed to storm shelters. The passenger terminal was unaffected, but OAA says several buildings on the east side in the General Aviation area sustained damage. No injuries have been reported. The airport reopened just before 6 p.m. Delays are still anticipated Friday night; passengers are advised to check with their carrier for their flight status.

6:30 p.m. -- Omaha Police and Fire officials are set to provide an update on today’s weather and the response.

6:06 p.m. -- Eppley Airfield has reopened for airport operations. The terminal was not impacted, although delays are likely. Damage assessments continue in other areas of the airport.

A TORNADO EMERGENCY has been issued for Shelby County, including the City of Harlan. A LARGE, VIOLENT TORNADO is on the ground and lofting debris. Take shelter NOW!

The Omaha Storm Chasers have postponed tonight’s game at Werner Park against Indianapolis due to the weather. It will be made up as a single-admission doubleheader at 12:05 p.m. Sunday.

5:57 p.m. -- Pottawattamie County has been cleared from the Tornado Warning that was in effect. The warned storm has largely passed into Shelby County.

A LARGE, DANGEROUS TORNADO is on the ground between Harlan and Portsmouth in Shelby County. Take shelter now!

Damage is also being reported in the town of Pisgah.

The Omaha Community Playhouse has canceled its production of Chicken and Biscuits for tonight. The Omaha Children’s Museum will open one hour late Saturday.

OPPD outages now total 10,158 customers, the majority across Douglas and Washington Counties. In Iowa, MidAmerican Energy reports just over 5,000 customers in the dark in its Council Bluffs service area.

5:50 p.m. -- Reports of trees and wires down along Avenue E in Council Bluffs.

Residents are asked to submit damage reports via phone at 211.

Douglas County authorities report a reunification center is being established at Elkhorn Middle School for parents whose students were held during the earlier warnings.

A TORNADO WARNING is also in place for southeastern Montgomery and central Page counties in Iowa. College Springs, Villisca and Clarinda are in the path. Rotation is radar-indicated at this time.

5:45 p.m. -- A large tornado has likely just torn through Minden, Iowa. A TORNADO EMERGENCY is in place through 6 p.m. for northern Pottawattamie County as it crosses into southern Shelby County. The town of Shelby and Harlan are on deck. The tornado is estimated to be about one third of a mile wide at its base.

5:40 p.m. -- The Food Bank for the Heartland has canceled its Stuff the Truck event set for Saturday morning at the 168th and West Maple Walmart location.

5:30 p.m. -- The Red Cross has set up an emergency shelter for Elkhorn-area residents at Arbor View Elementary School near 208th and Fort Streets.

The National Weather Service says a “likely strong tornado” was briefly on the ground across eastern Monona County near the town of Soldier. A TORNADO WARNING remains in effect there until 6 p.m.

5:26 p.m. -- Beebeetown residents, shelter now -- a tight area of rotation is crossing Interstate 880 into Harrison County. Areas between Logan and Portsmouth need to take their tornado precautions.

A new SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING is now in place for the Omaha metro until 6:15 p.m.

Severe Thunderstorm Warning including Omaha NE, Council Bluffs IA and Carter Lake IA until 6:15 PM CDT pic.twitter.com/M4cOYWGCMP

— NWS Omaha (@NWSOmaha) April 26, 2024

5:21 p.m. -- Omaha’s Eppley Airfield remains closed for damage assessment, but passengers that had been sheltering from the terminals are being allowed to come out. The terminal does not appear to be damaged.

5:18 p.m. -- A TORNADO WARNING continues for northern Pottawattamie and southern Harrison County. A CONFIRMED TORNADO is on the ground near Honey Creek.

5:12 p.m. -- Nebraska’s softball game set for tonight has been pushed back to 6 p.m. for first pitch. Nebraska’s baseball first pitch is pushed back to 6:45 p.m.

West Maple Road is CLOSED between 204th and 216th Streets due to heavy damage. Please avoid the area. West Dodge Road is also closed in both directions between Skyline Drive and Highway 275.

5:02 p.m. -- Eppley Airfield is CLOSED for the interim. Eppley is moving passengers in the terminal to storm shelters and delays are expected. A report has been received that Eppley Airfield was hit and sustained an unknown severity of damage.

Passengers in the OMA terminal are being moved to the storm shelters. Expect flight delays. Please contact your airline for flight information. https://t.co/MBwb53qOwu

— Eppley Airfield (@OMAairport) April 26, 2024

4:57 p.m. -- Got pictures or videos? Submit here when you can do so safely.

4:54 p.m. -- A TORNADO WARNING has been extended through 5:45 p.m. for eastern Douglas, western Pottawattamie, and southern Harrison counties.

4:53 p.m. -- Heavy rainfall is descending on midtown Omaha, including WOWT’s studios. Also seeing small hail, perhaps marble size.

4:42 p.m. -- Bellevue Public Schools says the district is keeping kids safe inside until the tornado warning expires.

OPPD is reporting a spike in power outages across the metro -- up over 10,000 customers in total. [CURRENT OUTAGE MAP]

4:33 p.m. -- A FLASH FLOOD WARNING has been issued for Douglas, Sarpy, Pottawattamie, Mills and Washington Counties until 8 p.m. due to heavy rainfall.

A new TORNADO WARNING is in place through 5:15 p.m. for central Washington, southeastern Burt and west-central Harrison counties. This includes Blair, Kennard, Modale and Mondamin.

4:30 p.m. -- Check out this tornado video from Joe Bradley near Yutan.

WATCH -- Joe Bradley sent us this video of tornadic activity near Yutan. He said it was taken from Skyline Drive, about halfway between Pacific and Center. pic.twitter.com/GPAnxItmv7

— 6 News WOWT (@WOWT6News) April 26, 2024

4:27 p.m. -- A TORNADO WARNING has been issued for eastern Douglas, Sarpy, northern Cass, and western Pottawattamie Co. until 5:15 p.m. Radar-indicated rotation and up to 2″ hail are the main concerns.

FIRST ALERT: A Tornado Warning is in effect until Apr 26 5:15PM for Douglas, Sarpy, Pottawattamie, Cass counties. Tune to 6 News and the WOWT First Alert Weather app for more information. pic.twitter.com/NQxRFhqWl0

— Rusty Lord WOWT (@RustyLord) April 26, 2024

4:22 p.m. -- Damage reports from the area of 216th and West Maple Road indicate roofs being torn off homes.

A TORNADO WARNING has been extended into Harrison County until 5 p.m. This is a CONFIRMED TORNADO! Locations impacted include Modale, Mondamin, and Pisgah.

Another TORNADO WARNING has been issued for portions of Nemaha, Pawnee and Richardson Counties. Radar-indicated rotation and two-inch hail are the main concerns. Areas impacted include Auburn, Humboldt and Dawson.

4:20 p.m. -- A Severe Thunderstorm Warning is in place until 5 p.m. for parts of Douglas and Saunders Counties. Hail up to 1.5″ is the primary concern.

A TORNADO WARNING is in place for northeastern Otoe, eastern Cass, western Mills, and northwestern Fremont Counties until 5 p.m. Rotation is radar-indicated. This warning includes Plattsmouth, Glenwood, Silver City, Thurman, and Nebraska City.

4:15 p.m. -- Reports of several people trapped in some locales across northwestern Douglas County.

4:11 p.m. -- Some reports of several parties trapped near 253rd and West Center Road.

4:03 p.m. -- Tornado CONFIRMED ON THE GROUND near Blair Municipal Airport, headed northeast toward Blair, Ft. Calhoun.

Bennington has been cleared from the Tornado Warning for the interim.

3:59 p.m. -- National Weather Services reports the tornado is north of Bennington crossing into Washington County. Still on the ground, but may be weakening.

TORNADO WARNING has been extended through 4:45 p.m. for parts of Cass, Otoe and Sarpy Counties.

FIRST ALERT: A Tornado Warning is in effect until Apr 26 4:45PM for Cass, Otoe, Sarpy counties. Tune to 6 News and the WOWT First Alert Weather app for more information. pic.twitter.com/tfq0uqBw8R

— Rusty Lord WOWT (@RustyLord) April 26, 2024

3:52 p.m. -- A wall cloud has been reported near NE-50 and NE-1 in Cass County, near Louisville.

Omaha Public Power District is reporting just over 6,500 customers without power, with a concentration in western Douglas and Sarpy Counties.

3:46 p.m. -- A TORNADO WARNING has been issued for much of Sarpy down into central and western Cass County. Radar-indicated rotation at this time.

FIRST ALERT: A Tornado Warning is in effect until Apr 26 4:30PM for Sarpy, Cass counties. Tune to 6 News and the WOWT First Alert Weather app for more information. pic.twitter.com/ZQdXEY8rWc

— Rusty Lord WOWT (@RustyLord) April 26, 2024

The tornado on the ground has been reported north and east of West Dodge Road and Skyline Drive in Elkhorn.

3:42 p.m. -- A TORNADO EMERGENCY has been issued for the City of Elkhorn. The tornado is reportedly between Dodge and Maple near 240th Street.

3:36 p.m. -- A confirmed tornado has been spotted near 260th and Center in western Douglas County. Those in the western half of the Omaha metro need to be sheltering NOW. Multiple reports have been received of sirens sounding in the Omaha area.

Skyline and Dodge just to the southwest. Take the warning serious! pic.twitter.com/XPgZ5AKbvW

— Ofc. Dan Fehrman (@OPDOfcFehrman) April 26, 2024

3:31 p.m. -- A new TORNADO WARNING has been issued for parts of Lancaster and Saunders Counties through 4:15 p.m. This includes Wahoo and Cedar Bluffs. A CONFIRMED TORNADO is headed north and east.

3:22 p.m. -- TORNADO WARNING extended into parts of Douglas and Sarpy Counties, including portions of the Omaha metro. A CONFIRMED TORNADO was spotted on the ground near Ashland and is headed northeast. Take your tornado precautions NOW!

FIRST ALERT: A Tornado Warning is in effect until Apr 26 3:45PM for Sarpy, Douglas, Saunders, Lancaster, Cass counties. Tune to 6 News and the WOWT First Alert Weather app for more information. pic.twitter.com/d3QWhzlbDu

— Rusty Lord WOWT (@RustyLord) April 26, 2024

3:01 p.m. -- Emergency manager near David City has confirmed a tornado in that area.

2:52 p.m. -- Severe Studios chasers confirm tornado on the ground north of Lincoln, near Waverly. The tornado is just south of Interstate 80 at intersection of Highway 6, and is approaching I-80. Anyone traveling on the interstate in this area should exit immediately and take shelter.

2:45 p.m. -- Video update from Meteorologist David Koeller:

2:18 p.m. -- Lincoln Public Schools braces for severe weather. [TWEET]

2:03 p.m. -- A TORNADO WARNING has been extended to include portions of the City of Lincoln through 3 p.m. This includes western Lancaster, southwestern Saunders, eastern Seward, and the southeastern edge of Butler County.

FIRST ALERT: A Tornado Warning is in effect until Apr 26 3:00PM for Saunders, Lancaster, Seward, Butler counties. Tune to 6 News and the WOWT First Alert Weather app for more information. pic.twitter.com/Bc7TWtJkku

— Rusty Lord WOWT (@RustyLord) April 26, 2024

1:25 p.m. -- Severe Thunderstorm Warnings are beginning to be issued southwest of the metro. Warnings are in effect for western Jefferson, southern Seward, and western Saline Counties until 2 p.m. Locations impacted include Milford, Friend, Utica, Beaver Crossing, and Fairbury.

1:12 p.m. -- Some Iowa school districts are dismissing early due to the severe weather threat. Glenwood Community Schools will dismiss one hour early, and all activities are canceled. Missouri Valley dismissed at 1 p.m. Tri-Center will dismiss at 1:30 p.m.

Sidney, Iowa schools will dismiss one hour early. South Page Community Schools will dismiss at 2 p.m.

In Omaha, the Hope Center for Kids is closed.

[COMPLETE CLOSING/DELAY LIST]

12:54 p.m. -- The National Weather Service issued a Tornado Watch through 7 p.m. for east-central Nebraska and western Iowa, as well as parts of Kansas and Missouri.

FRIDAY UPDATES: Tornadoes rip through Omaha metro, leaving behind damage and destruction (1)

12:34 p.m. -- Senior Chief Meteorologist Rusty Lord checks in to say the timelines are still holding.

Everything is on track. Tornado watch should be out in the next hour or 2 and then it’s wait and watch as the storms develop and move thru. 2-6pm still the main window.

— Rusty Lord WOWT (@RustyLord) April 26, 2024

10:24 a.m. -- Douglas County Emergency Management issues an advisory that two outdoor tornado warning sirens, both located in northwest Omaha, are not functioning.

Get the latest weather alerts for your area. Download the 6 First Alert Weather app.

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FRIDAY UPDATES: Tornadoes rip through Omaha metro, leaving behind damage and destruction (2024)

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