Several tornados hit the Kearney area Thursday evening as a severe storm system that packed heavy winds, hail and heavy rain hit the area. The storm closed I-80 from Aurora to York due to downed power lines. In Kearney, buildings at the University of Kearney and on the Buffalo County Fairgrounds were damaged as well as local businesses. Outside the city limits, a 40 car train derailed. A number of cars were damaged due to one inch-plus hail. All residents were asked to remain at home on Thursday evening due to the damage. One home outside Aurora was partially destroyed due to the storm. Further east, a spotter witnessed a tornado touch down near the town of Herman in Washington County. That storm damaged an irrigation pivot. The State has activated the Nebraska emergency Operations Center in Lincoln. The center includes several key state agencies including the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency, the Nebraska State Patrol, State Fire Marshall, the Department of Heath and Human Services, the Department of Roads, Nebraska National Guard and the Department of Environmental Quality. These agencies will be working with officials in Kearney to access the damage and will be setting up operations there.
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