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Severe Storms bring widespread wind damage to the Omaha metro

Published: Jul. 9, 2021 at 4:55 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 10, 2021 at 7:27 AM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - UPDATE SUNDAY 8:38 AM: Omaha’s debris cleanup locations will be open through Wednesday.

UPDATE 2:30 PM: OPPD gives updates on power being restored throughout the Omaha metro. They say there are about 110,000 customers without power and this is the most severe storm they have seen in recent history.

Cities and counties around the Omaha metro have announced drop-off sites for debris and damaged trees.

From 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m, Hy-Vee will have a “Healthy You Mobile site” giving out free bottled water for people affected by the storm at Hefflinger Park. According to the release, “Residents will be able to pick up one 24-pack of bottled water per person while supplies last.”

The American Red Cross has opened a cooling center in Bellevue for people affected by the storm. At the Bellevue Fire Training Center, officials say, “those temporarily impacted are welcome to seek shelter from the storms, cool off and charge devices,” according to the release.

Some city pools in the area are also closed.

UPDATE: Elkhorn Pool will not open today. Hanscom Pool will open as scheduled, at 12:00pm. Elkhorn Pool will...

Posted by City of Omaha Parks & Recreation on Saturday, July 10, 2021

UPDATE 12:05 PM: Omaha Public Library announced seven locations being closed today due to power outages. The locations are Benson, Florence, Millard, Sorensen, South Omaha, Washington, and Willa Cather.

Several OPL locations will be CLOSED today, July 10, due to power outages: Abrahams, Benson, Florence, Millard,...

Posted by Omaha Public Library on Saturday, July 10, 2021

The Santa Lucia Festival will continue for the weekend starting at noon.

We had some cleanup to do this morning, but the festival site is now looking as beautiful as ever! We open at noon today! See you soon for lunch!! 🍝 🇮🇹 👊🏻

Posted by Santa Lucia Festival Omaha, NE on Saturday, July 10, 2021

UPDATE 10:25 AM: Nebraska Public Power District is dealing with a large number of power outages. In a release, NPPD states a 345-kilovolt transmission line between Grand Island and McCool was seriously damaged with 84 structures broken or are on the ground. Transmission line wire is also on the ground near the Aurora exit on I-80 and as a result, has slowed traffic to a crawl on Interstate 80 and Highway 14 and created a large backup. Beginning at 10 a.m. NPPD transmission crews will be working with the Nebraska State Patrol to allow crews to remove the wire from the road and return traffic to normal conditions. The transmission line is also laying on a power line operated by local rural public power districts and NPPD will be working with those utilities. A transmission line has also fallen across Union pacific tracks so train traffic has been halted at this time. NPPD crews from throughout the state have been called in to assist local crews.

MCC’s Fort Omaha Campus, South Omaha Campus, and MCC South Express are all closed Saturday, July 10th due to power outages. Online and remote learning will continue as normal.

Due to power outages, the following MCC locations will be closed on Saturday, July 10: Fort Omaha Campus, South Express and South Omaha Campus. Online and remote learning activities continue as normal.

Posted by Metropolitan Community College (Nebraska) on Saturday, July 10, 2021

UPDATE 10:02 AM: The wastewater treatment plant is back online.

After assessing the damage at Omaha Country Club from overnight storms, we are happy to report that the golf course is playable and admission gates for fans will open at 10 a.m. The golf course is being prepped and play will resume at 10:15 a.m. from the first and 10th tees. There is still the possibility of inclement weather later today so all fans should be vigilant and prepared to take shelter as necessary.

Those impacted by the storm can visit the Heartland Hope Mission’s Millard location will be serving food to those affected by the storm from 10:30 a.m. until 11:30 a.m.

In a release, OPPD states crews are fanning out across the service territory, and we are making progress, to restore outages. While restoration is underway, full restoration could take multiple days in some areas due to the complexity and extent of the storm damage. They advise people with emergency medical issues that need electricity, should go to the hospital or call 911.

UPDATE 8:40 AM: The city of Omaha will be opening up storm debris dropoff locations at Ta Ha Zouka Park in Elkhorn, Hefflinger Park at 112th & Maple, Towl Park at 93rd & Center, and the parking lot at 156th & F. This is for damaged tree limbs and debris only.

We will begin to open drop-off locations beginning today for tree debris: Ta-Ha-Zouka Park in Elkhorn, Hefflinger Park...

Posted by Jean Stothert on Saturday, July 10, 2021

The U.S. Senior Open was delayed because of storm damage on the golf course. The range opened at 8:30 a.m. and the first tee time is at 10:15 a.m.

UPDATE 8:30 AM: Powerful overnight storms caused significant damage to the power feeds serving the Missouri River Water Resource Recovery Facility. According to a release, approximately 30 million gallons per day of untreated wastewater are being discharged to the Missouri River at several locations along the river. The release continued stating the damage to the electrical infrastructure is substantial. Jim Theiler, the public works assistant director of environmental services, they are unsure of when the power will be restored to the facility. The release states efforts are being made to isolate the facility from the electrical distribution system to allow the Missouri River Water Resource Recovery Facility to generate its own power and resume treatment operations. Right now, officials are recommending avoiding wading, swimming, and contact with the waters of the Missouri River near and downstream from river mile 612. That advisory is in effect until further notice.

Storm damage report: Wastewater Treatment Plant Due to storm damage to power feeds serving the Missouri River Water...

Posted by Jean Stothert on Saturday, July 10, 2021

The Henry Doorly Zoo is currently without power. A spokesperson with the zoo tells 6 News they will not open until noon.

“Shrew” you know: Due to a power outage, the Zoo will not open until noon today. We hope this pic of our elephant shrew in the Lied Jungle will hold you over under we see you next!

Posted by Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium on Saturday, July 10, 2021

UPDATE 7 AM: An extremely powerful line of storms raced through the Omaha metro around Midnight early Saturday morning, bringing winds of 70 to 80 mph to much of the area. Widespread wind damage ranging from broken tree branches, fallen trees, fallen power lines, broken power poles, and even building damage has been reported across much of the area. As of 7:30 a.m., OPPD still reports more than 167,000 customers are without power due to the overnight storms. Crews are working to restore power across the area, but OPPD says it may be several days before all outages are fixed. OPPD is reaching out to other utilities for additional resources to help expedite work. They say outages are prioritized by the number of customers on a circuit, so the largest number of customers can be brought back online at one time.

Dodge Street between University Dr. and 67th St. is CLOSED due to a large tree and powerlines that were knocked onto the roads. You will need to find an alternate route around this section of Dodge this morning, as it will likely be closed for several hours.

UPDATE 5 AM: Storms have now completely cleared the area, though a few showers or rumbles of thunder will remain possible through the morning hours. Any threat of severe weather has come to an end. As of 5 a.m., OPPD reports that more than 177,000 customers remain without power with widespread reports of trees toppled and power line damage.

Confirmed wind gusts reached up to 78 mph in the Omaha metro, with many reports of wind gusts over 70 mph across the region. Winds gusted over 80 mph just to our west in the Aurora and Grand Island areas.

UPDATE 2 AM: As of about 2:20 a.m., more than 190,000 customers remain without power across the area. Stay off the roads until emergency services are able to assess the damage and start the clean-up process.

Power remains out across large chunks of the Omaha metro, which means many street lights are out and stop lights will not be functioning at many intersections. If you encounter an intersection with the stoplights out, treat it as a 4-way stop.

Due to the overnight storm, dozens of traffic control signals are out around Omaha, some at larger intersections. USE...

Posted by Omaha Police Department on Saturday, July 10, 2021

Significant damage has been reported at Todd Farms between Murray and Union in Cass County. Appears there has been damage to several of the grain bins at the farm likely due to 70 or 80 mph winds.

UPDATE 11:30 PM: Severe storms pushing toward the metro, wind gusts of 60-75 mph are possible with this line of storms in the North Bend, Schuyler, and David City areas until Midnight.

UPDATE 10 PM: A severe thunderstorm watch has been issued for the entire area through 5 a.m. A line of strong thunderstorms is moving through central Nebraska right now and will approach the metro area between 11:30 pm and 1 a.m. Strong winds gusts to around 60mph and heavy rainfall is likely when these storms arrive. We should see a slight weakening trend as storms approach the Missouri river, but some scattered tree damage and a few power outages will be possible. Small hail is also possible, but damaging hail is not expected with these storms.

Severe Thunderstorm Watch in effect until 5am
Severe Thunderstorm Watch in effect until 5am(WOWT)

4 PM: A few storms rumbled by early this morning but skies cleared for the afternoon with hot and humid weather returning. Temperatures warmed into the low 90s as dew points jumped into the low 70s. This has pushed our heat index readings into the upper 90s to around 100! The heat and humidity will last through the evening, but we will stay dry if you have any Friday evening plans.

Thunderstorms are still expected overnight but likely will not arrive until well after dark. Storms are forming right now in western Nebraska, and will push across the state during the evening and early overnight. Storms should arrive in the Norfolk, Columbus, and Lincoln areas around Midnight. Storms then push toward the metro by 1 to 2am. The strongest storms will fade by Saturday morning, but we will likely continue to see scattered showers and a few storms throughout the day. While severe weather is not expected, pockets of heavy rainfall are likely. While it will not rain all day, it will likely be difficult to find an extended period of dry time. Rain should begin to taper off Saturday night, with drier weather taking over by Sunday afternoon. We’ll still be cool for July with highs in the upper 70s. 80-degree weather will return next week, with more scattered chances for storms Tuesday into Wednesday, and again Friday into Saturday.

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