Baseball-size hail pummels Nebraska

BY LARA BRICKER | SCOTTSBLUFF, NEBRASKA | July 6, 2001



"The safest place was definitely inside when you started mixing in three-inch diameter hail with the wind."

—Richard Bann


Residents in the western

Nebraska community of Scottsbluff are beginning to clean

up the debris left by a severe thunderstorm, with

baseball-sized hail, that tore through the area on the

Fourth of July.

No one seemed to escape the devastation caused by the

powerful storm. The First United Methodist Church in

Scottsbluff lost many of its windows and the entire roof

might need to be replaced, explained church member Karen

Manning. "We were hit, we're just trying to stabilize

and start repairs," she said. "We were right in the path

of it."

Because most of the church members were busy boarding up

and fixing their church, members of the First United

Methodist Church in nearby Alliance, Nebraska,

volunteered to help elderly members of the Scottsbluff

congregation.

Trustees of the Scottsbluff church had their work cut

out for them with the extensive repairs, Manning said.

"We have lots and lots of windows out," she said.

Car windows and house windows were smashed out in nearly

every residence in the Scottsbluff area, said Lanette

Richards, the executive director of the North Platte

Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross.

The town's high school was "hit pretty hard" with most

of its windows shattered, she said.

Twelve people were treated and released at the Regional

West Medical Center for minor injuries, according to a

hospital spokesperson. Nebraska Governor Mike Johanns

visited the area ransacked by the hailstorm and

indicated he would to sign a Declaration of Emergency.

The declaration would enable those not covered by

insurance to apply for state aid.

The Red Cross is preparing to help people who need

assistance with materials for repairing their homes.

"Right now, we going and were assessing the area," she

said. "We've had a lot of calls from people who know

what they need. It's mostly roofs, windows and siding.

"The storm system was a fairly slow-moving event, which

increased the amount of damage caused by the hail and

high winds, said Richard Bann, a forecaster with the

National Weather Service in Cheyenne, Wyoming. The storm

traveled from southern Sioux County, then followed a

damaging track to the south east, with the most severe

weather reported over Scottsbluff, where winds were

measured at 59 m.p.h., Bann said.

"The safest place was definitely inside when you started

mixing in three-inch diameter hail with the wind," he

said.

While the storm's impact was felt mostly on the north

and southeast parts of Scottsbluff, eastern Banner

County also received some damage, Bann said. Strong

winds, heavy rain, and some hail pummeled Gering.


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