CBSN

Tornadoes Kill One In Nebraska

Destruction lies in the wake of a tornado in Deshler, Neb., Monday, June 23, 2003. Up to a foot of rain and at least seven tornadoes pounded southern Nebraska Sunday, killing one person, destroying at least four homes, and causing flooding.(AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
AP
One person was killed when severe thunderstorms unleashed at least seven tornadoes and hail in southeast and central Nebraska on Sunday, knocking down trees and power lines, damaging buildings and flooding roads.

"There's debris on vehicles that are parked, there are some houses that are flattened, there's a roof torn off the agricultural hall, and there is some flooding of Main Street, as there's about 6 to 8 inches of water in the south end of town," state police Sgt. Tim Pickering told CBS Radio News. "Pieces of windows, power lines, some posts that are laying on the roadway."

Todd Holsten, with the National Weather Service in Hastings, said four tornadoes hit in and around Deshler in Thayer County near the Kansas line starting at 6:40 p.m. local time and continued for an hour.

"They've got the town all blocked off," said Gordon Fleming, a Thayer County commissioner who lives in Deshler, about 75 miles southwest of Lincoln. "It blew some buildings away here."

Malisa Sittler, director of human resources at Thayer County Health Services in Hebron, said the center treated five other people injured in Deshler, mostly from flying debris.

Gov. Mike Johanns' spokesman, Chris Peterson, said the state's emergency operation center was up and running. An emergency team was being sent to Deshler.

Heavy rains have made it hard to get the cleanup started.

"You kind of have to zigzag, but you can only go about two blocks because of the water over the roadway," said Pickering.

Dave Moore, civil defense director in Nance County, said citizens reported a tornado was briefly on the ground about three miles southeast of Fullerton, in the central-east part of the state. There was no damage reported from the twister.

Larry Wirth, with the weather service, said a tornado also damaged buildings in Byron, about seven miles south of Deshler. Law enforcement confirmed another tornado three miles north of Bradshaw in York County about 8:30 p.m.

Wirth estimated 7 inches of rain fell in parts of Thayer County.