Tornadoes, rain pummel Nebraska, Kansas

| 6/24/2003

Southern Nebraska and northern Kansas were hit by at least seven tornadoes and a foot of rain Sunday, according to The Associated Press.

The news agency reported one death and five homes destroyed in Deshler, NE, where residents reported “volleyball-size” hail. The town’s mayor reported five homes leveled to their foundations and 25 others with extensive damage.

The storm also destroyed the town’s lumberyard and a building at Reinke Manufacturing, the maker of flatbed trailers, truck chassis and irrigation equipment.

“There’s a lot of damage from trees just landing on cars and homes,” Bob Reinke of Reinke Manufacturing, told The AP. “It’s unbelievable.”

Nebraska Gov. Mike Johanns called in a National Guard helicopter to rescue people stranded by standing water in Hubbell, a small Nebraska town on the Kansas line. The news agency reported that the governor would tour the Deshler area Monday.

The weather service radar in Hastings, NE, showed six to 13 inches of rain throughout Thayer County. The AP reported a highway just south of Hebron, NE, was closed due to high water.

Across the state line in a rural area north of Courtland, KS, three homes were damaged. No injuries were reported, but standing water stranded several people.