Overnight storm downs power lines near Fremont, trees around Omaha-metro

Lightning hit house near Lake Wanahoo, north of Wahoo, as thunderstorms rolled through early...
Lightning hit house near Lake Wanahoo, north of Wahoo, as thunderstorms rolled through early Thursday, June 24, 2021.(Courtesy photo)
Published: Jun. 24, 2021 at 11:45 AM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Residents of the Omaha-metro and areas west were clearing debris as power crews worked to restore electricity after strong storms rolled through early Thursday.

Meanwhile at TD Ameritrade Park, others were working behind the scenes to keep the College World Series on track and baseball fans and teams safe.

“Inevitably, we are going to contend with weather, and thankful we have plans in place,” said Kristyna Engdahl of MECA.

Overnight thunderstorms brought strong winds, heavy rains, and lots of lightning in Thursday’s early hours as it pushed through eastern Nebraska and into the Omaha-metro area on its way to northwest Missouri.

Thousands of homes and businesses around the area lost power, but there were no immediate reports of injuries.

In Saunders County, west of Lake Wanahoo and north of Wahoo, a lightning strike destroyed a home when heavy rains rolled through.

Near Fremont, the winds were strong enough to knock down power poles.

A main power line fell across all four lanes of Highway 30 left closed in both directions just to the west of Highway 77. Authorities had it back open by 11:30 a.m.

The Fremont area was hit hard by Wednesday night’s storms, which knocked out power to 2,500-3,000 homes. Power poles at one of the transmission areas on Luther Road blocked the street, closing it.

There was a bigger problem at the second transmission site. Seventy-foot-tall power pole wires were lying across Highway 30, creating a dangerous situation for drivers. Fremont power crews got to work quickly to restore power.

Earlier on Wednesday, Fremont Fire Department Capt. Tom Christensen had advised residents to stay out of the weather at 3:28 a.m., noting that multiple trees and power lines were down.

“While a crew was responding to a medical call, they had a tree fall, hitting the back of the truck,” a tweet from Christensen said. “All are OK and very lucky.”

OPPD crews were working to restore power in many areas, including Dodge County.

OPPD said in an update at 6:25 a.m. that it had called in additional crews to assist with the more than 10,000 customers without power. By 11 a.m., that number was down to about 2,900, mostly in Sarpy County. MidAmerican Energy was also reporting a handful of outages in the Council Bluffs area at that time.

Elsewhere in Pottawattamie County, a tree struck a gas line at a home, forcing residents and neighbors to evacuated.

Meanwhile, in Omaha, the storm snapped a tree on Harney Street near 34th Street, blocking traffic there Thursday morning. Fallen trees were blocking some streets around the Omaha-metro area. North of Highway 370 in Papillion, near Hackney Drive and Cedardale Road, traffic was down to one lane; a neighborhood south of Sorensen Parkway at 63rd and Jaynes streets was also impacted.

Bellevue’s Public Works Department opened up its tree dump at the landfill Thursday morning to help residents clearing tree and brush debris. The tree dump, located at the old landfill site, will be open until noon Saturday, “which is the regularly scheduled month-end collection,” according to the city’s website.

Fremont said it was reopening a similar site from sunrise to sunset for the week to help residents clearing debris.

The tree disposal site (which was once the old city dump) will now be reopened for the week in order to help Fremont...

Posted by City of Fremont, NE on Thursday, June 24, 2021

The Nebraska Humane Society asked residents to be on the lookout for wildlife in need after the storms, sharing that a family of bats had been brought in and noting that reports should be called into Animal Control at 402-444-7800, Ext. 1.

With storms rolling in, like last night's, this is a good reminder to keep an eye out for wildlife that may be in need...

Posted by Nebraska Humane Society on Thursday, June 24, 2021

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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