Neighborhoods around Omaha, Nebraska devastated by large tornado

A violent supercell that produced tornadoes over eastern Nebraska, including the town of Elkhorn, damaged businesses and destroyed homes on Friday afternoon during a multi-day severe weather outbreak over the Plains.

OMAHA, Neb. – A violent supercell that produced tornadoes over eastern Nebraska damaged businesses and destroyed homes on Friday afternoon during a multi-day severe weather outbreak over the Plains.

Teams with the National Weather Service office in Omaha found damage consistent with an EF-3 tornado with winds of 135 mph to 165 mph.

Due to early warnings, local officials said there were no fatalities and all injuries were considered to be non-lifethreatening.

Doppler radar first detected significant rotation southwest of Lincoln, Nebraska, near the town of Wilber.

The cell would go on to produce tornadoes around the towns of Elkhorn, Waverly, Blair and communities outside of Omaha.

The NWS office in Omaha even issued a rare Tornado Emergency, which warned of the life-threatening weather event.


The devastation caused by the tornado is evident in a line of homes, with cars and houses destroyed or severely damaged in the Omaha suburb of Elkhorn.

"This is catastrophic damage that we're talking about here," said FOX Weather correspondent Nicole Valdes, who was on the ground Saturday in the unrecognizable town. "You can only imagine not only what this looks like now, but the fear of the families who may have been inside some of these homes, as they probably had to duck for shelter as the roof came crashing down above them."

Significant damage east of Lincoln, Nebraska

Before crossing Interstate 80, the tornado was credited with knocking over part of a train and impacting a manufacturing facility with at least 70 workers inside.

According to the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office, several of the workers were trapped, but only three had non-life-threatening injuries.

Garner Industries says it specializes in the production of plastic products used in a variety of industries.

Clean-up will be extensive as major sections of the facility’s roof and walls appear to have caved in.

"We are very thankful that there were not more injuries and that everybody is going to be okay," authorities said.

Not far away, BNSF Railway reported there were no injuries after several train cars were derailed by the tornado between the towns Lincoln and Waverly.

In total, Lancaster County Emergency Management reported at least 13 people sought medical treatment after the severe storm rolled through.


Tornado crosses Interstate 80 during live FOX Weather storm coverage

FOX Weather meteorologists Ian Oliver and Ari Sarsalari were on-air during severe weather coverage when Storm Tracker Brandon Copic captured video of a tornado that swept across Interstate 80 east of Lincoln.

A pack of storm chasers were close enough to hear the roar of the vortex as traffic slowed to allow the twister to cross the interstate.

The strong winds flipped at least one semi-truck, and fellow motorists stopped to help the truck’s driver out of the cab.

Tornado Emergency issued for communities outside of Omaha

After what appeared to be an internal reorganization of the cell, the storm produced the strongest tornado of its lifecycle around the Omaha metro.

The local National Weather Service office issued several Tornado Warnings and a Tornado Emergency warning about the extreme danger to life and property from the twister.

The Tornado Emergency was the first issuance of the product since Dec. 9, 2023, when an EF-2 impacted communities around Nashville.

After the severe weather, video showed significant damage in the towns of Elkhorn and Blair, where local storm chasers said some homes appeared to be completely flattened.

First responders were in search and rescue mode in the hours after the storms but said they don't have reports of any additional people missing following the tornado outbreak.

The Omaha Police Department said only minor injuries were reported in its jurisdiction, but search and rescue efforts were still ongoing and at least 150 structures in Douglas County were either damaged or destroyed.