Gov. Dave Heineman has issued a state disaster declaration for portions of Nebraska hit hard by tornadoes at the end of last weekend.
Heineman made the declaration through the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency after touring damage at Beaver Crossing, Cordova, and Sutton with Al Berndt, Assistant Director of NEMA.
Storms Sunday spawned at least a dozen tornadoes that cut a path of destruction from approximately 90 miles, from west of Sutton to Omaha.
“I am always impressed with the citizens of our state and their desire to work together to assist one another in times of difficulty,” Heineman said in a written statement released by his office. “I appreciate seeing the affected areas today and speaking with the responders and volunteers on the ground. I am declaring a state of emergency and we are providing necessary assistance as our communities begin the process of putting their lives back together after a natural disaster.”
By declaring an official state of emergency, Heineman made state personnel and resources available to assist local governments in clean-up. It also allows the governor to deploy the Nebraska National Guard and NEMA resources as needed. Twenty Nebraska Army National Guard soldiers from the 92nd Troop Command have been mobilized to state active duty to come to the aid of local emergency management officials.
The governor’s office reports widespread damage from the storms to homes, businesses, and public infrastructure in Clay, Fillmore, Seward, York, Lancaster, Hamilton, Jefferson, Douglas, Sarpy and Saunders Counties.
NEMA staff has been sent to the damaged areas to make formal assessments.
The storms even have had an effect on today’s Primary Election.
A couple of polling sites will have to move due to storm damage in Seward County. County Clerk Sherry Schweitzer says voters who usually cast ballots at the Cordova location will shift to the Utica Senior Center. Votes who cast ballots at Beaver Crossing will go to the Goehner Fire Hall instead.
Voters in Sutton will be able to vote as usual at the Senior Community Center, despite the fact that the storm knocked out its power. Clay County Clerk Deborah Karnatz says a generator is being moved to the center to provide power.
Scotts Bluff County is dealing with a different issue: ten inches of snow. Nevertheless, County Clerk Vera Dulaney says all the county polling places should be accessible for the primary.