Published Saturday
May 5, 2001

S.E. Nebraska Storms Spawn Tornadoes, Flood Warnings


At least five small tornadoes were spotted across southeast Nebraska Friday evening as severe storms struck Richardson, Nemaha, Otoe and Johnson Counties. 

Authorities had not received any reports of injuries or damage late Friday and were unsure how many twisters were spotted or might have touched down. By 9 p.m., the tornado warnings had expired or were downgraded to severe thunderstorm warnings. 

Nodaway County in northwest Missouri was also under a tornado warning Friday evening that ended about 9 p.m. The Sheriff's Office there said it had received no reports of damage and did not know whether a tornado had been confirmed. 

Steve Hoffmann, deputy director of the Richardson County Emergency Management Agency, said a spotter saw a funnel cloud about 5:50 p.m. near Dawson. The spotter reported that a twister appeared, climbed back into the clouds and appeared again before disappearing, Hoffmann said. 

Spotters later reported that several tornadoes touched down along the Richardson-Nemaha County on U.S. Highway 75. 

Shortly before 9 p.m., a severe thunderstorm with rotating winds moved over Nebraska City. The Otoe County Sheriff's Office did not know whether a tornado was spotted. 

The storms weakened as they moved north and reached cooler air. 

Earlier Friday, the National Weather Service issued a flash flood watch for much of southeast Nebraska and southwest Iowa. Late Friday, Otoe and Johnson Counties were under flash flood warnings. 

Forecasters said 1 to 3 inches of rain could fall Friday night over the already saturated region, increasing concerns about the rising Missouri River. The watch was to end this morning. 

RETURN TO:  MAY 2-5, 2001, Storm Report