6 FIRST ALERT NEWS -- Omaha, Council Bluffs reporting power outages, storm damage

Published: Dec. 15, 2021 at 11:42 AM CST|Updated: Dec. 15, 2021 at 5:31 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Residents around the Omaha-metro were assessing the damage following Wednesday afternoon’s storm that prompted schools and businesses to close early or cancel activities in anticipation of the high winds — and even tornados — that blew through the area.

11 PM -- Nebraska Public Power District reports having 304 customers without power and reminding people to keep their distance if they come across a downed powerline.

9:45 PM -- OPPD said crews had restored power to about 10,000 customers and would be working late to continue repairing outages. As many as 24,000 customers were without power in the peak aftermath of the storm

7 PM -- OPPD was reporting less than 16,000 customers still without power, including 3,643 in Douglas County; 3,134 in Sarpy County; 4,338 in Cass County; and 1,171 in Richardson County. In Council Bluffs, there were 17,871 MidAmerican Energy customers without power, while 4,568 Sioux City customers were without power.

6:15 PM -- MidAmerican Energy now reports over 28,000 customers without power — around 18,000 in Council Bluffs, 4,500+ in Sioux City, and 4,500+ in Fort Dodge. 6 News’ Ashleigh Richardson reports there is a mile-long stretch of power lines down in the area near Road L34 and Railroad Highway. OPPD’s power outages are starting to decrease as they report about 16,700 customers without power.

5:33 PM -- MidAmerican Energy now reports over 21,000 customers without power — around 17,800 in Council Bluffs, 2,500 in Sioux City, and 900 in Fort Dodge. 6 News’ Ashleigh Richardson reports there is a mile-long stretch of power lines down in the area near Road L34 and Railroad Highway. OPPD’s power outages remain near 24,000 customers.

4:54 PM -- OPPD is reporting over 23,000 customers are without power, thousands of customers in Douglas, Sarpy, Washington, Saunders, and Cass are without power. MidAmerican Energy is reporting over 16,500 people are without power, over 16,000 of those customers are in Council Bluffs.

4:45 PM -- 6 News’ Brian Mastre was live near Memorial Park post-storm to check out some flooding and other storm damage.

6 News' Brian Mastre reports live near Memorial Park after a strong wind storm and heavy rains hit the Omaha-metro on Dec. 15.

4:40 PM -- Wednesday’s storm affected several afternoon and evening flights at Omaha’s Eppley Airfield.

Wednesday's storm affected flights at Eppley Airfield.
Wednesday's storm affected flights at Eppley Airfield.(WOWT / Eppley Airfield)

4:39 PM -- MidAmerican Energy is reporting over 9,000 power outages — nearly 8,100 customers in Council Bluffs and 900 in Des Moines.

4:30 PM -- OPPD is now reporting nearly 18,700 customers are without power. Douglas, Washington, Saunders, and Cass counties are experiencing the most outages.

4:22 PM -- A tornado warning has been issued in Council Bluffs, Neola, IA, and Underwood, IA, until 5:00 p.m.

4:20 PM -- OPPD reports indicate over 15,000 customers are experiencing power outages. MidAmerican Energy reports up to nearly 1,200 customers without power — mostly in Des Moines and Waterloo, IA.

4:15 PM -- 6 News’ Ashleigh Richardson was live in Omaha near N. 108th St. and W. Maple Rd.

6 News' Ashleigh Richardson was live from 108th and Maple in Omaha as a powerful wind storm and rain hits the area.

4:12 PM -- OPPD reports more power outages around the Omaha-metro area — about 5,800 customers now. Most outages are coming in Douglas, Cass, and Saunders county.

4:05 PM -- The National Weather Service in Omaha/Valley took shelter for a short while.

3:58 PM -- 3,050 OPPD customers are reportedly without power. 937 MidAmerican Energy Company customers are also reportedly without power, most of them in Des Moines.

3:55 PM -- The National Weather Service has extended tornado warnings until 4:50 p.m. for several counties in the Omaha-metro area.

3:35 PM -- A severe thunderstorm warning has been issued for Sarpy County, Dodge County, Lancaster County, Douglas County, and others.

3:30 PM -- Weather officials in Lincoln say Lancaster County is in a Tornado Warning until 4 p.m

3:05 PM -- CHI Health Clinics in Nebraska and southwest Iowa are closed for the day, including rehab outpatient clinics. CHI Health says priority care and virtual quick care will remain open.

3:00 PM -- Reports of storm sirens going off around the Omaha-metro area.

1:58 PM -- Several Sarpy County Offices are closing early due to weather: the Sarpy County Treasurer’s Office, County Clerk Office, Clerk of the District Court Office, and Vehicle Inspection Office all closed at 2 p.m. The Sheriff’s Office also announced that all STOP Classes will be canceled, if you need to reschedule call 402-593-1564.

1:39 PM -- UNO closing campus at 2 p.m.

1:26 PM -- A tornado watch has been issued for greater Omaha-metro area as well as neighboring counties. Details developing in Wednesday’s 6 First Alert Weather updates.

12:54 PM -- Omaha’s Public Works Department will suspend Wednesday’s residential trash collection starting at 2:30 p.m. Residents are advised to retrieve and secure their carts — and their lids — on their property to prevent them from being lost or damaged during the afternoon weather event and to keep any loose trash from blowing away.

FCC Environmental will resume trash collection Thursday morning. Residents are asked to have their carts out by 6 a.m. Crews are planning to make Thursday and Friday collections still on their scheduled days. Anyone with a missed collection on those days is asked to call the Solid Waste Hotline at 402-444-5238 after 7 p.m. on their scheduled collection day.

12:43 PM -- The Douglas County Health Department canceled its vaccination clinic scheduled Wednesday at the Element Learning Center on Florence Boulevard as well as the STD clinic planned at the health department Wednesday.

12:10 PM -- Metro Transit will suspend services by 2 p.m. MOBY paratransit will cease operations for the day by 1 p.m. Services will resume on schedule Thursday morning as conditions allow.

12:13 PM -- DC West announces early dismissal at 2 p.m.

11:34 AM -- Millard Public Schools announced early dismissals, noting that school buildings would be open as long as they usually are to accommodate those students who aren’t able to be picked up early. Middle and high schools will be let out at 1:30 p.m. Most elementary schools were already scheduled to dismiss at 2:15 p.m., and any other middle schools scheduled to dismiss later will release their students at that time as well. After-school activities, including any community events using MPS buildings, are also canceled for the day.

11:25 AM -- Bennington Public Schools will dismiss an hour early Wednesday.

11:08 AM -- Elkhorn Public Schools announces it will dismiss an hour early Wednesday.

11:05 AM -- Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium announced Wednesday morning that it would close at 2 p.m.

“As always, the Zoo’s number one priority is the safety of our animals, employees, and visitors,” a zoo spokeswoman said in a release.

THIS JUST IN: The Zoo will be closing early today due to the forecast for dangerously high winds. Today, ticket sales...

Posted by Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium on Wednesday, December 15, 2021

10:51 AM -- The Durham Museum announces it will close at 1 p.m. Wednesday.

TUESDAY -- Several schools and businesses announced their Wednesday plans to close early, go remote, or otherwise adjust schedules ahead of our Tuesday evening broadcasts.

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