SIOUX CITY | At least two tornadoes were spotted in the Sioux City region Friday night. Extensive damage was reported outside Wayne, Neb.
The storm tore down power lines and broke trees in the northwest corner of Dakota County, near Dixon County, in Nebraska, but officials weren't aware of any structural damage by 8 p.m. The Dakota County Sheriff’s Office sent a deputy to help with the situation in Wayne.
After touching down in Northeast Nebraska and Southeast South Dakota, the storm systems moved northeast, pummeling residents of Cherokee, Iowa, with heavy rain after 8 p.m. People took shelter in basements after a report of a tornado one mile south of Cherokee, said Cherokee County Emergency Manager Ben Shuberg.
Rashel Nixon and her son, Will, 12, headed for the basement the second time they heard sirens go off, Rachel Nixon said. They passed the time fielding calls from concerned friends and relatives.
“”We’re all just sitting in our basement waiting for the all-clear,” Nixon said. “I think everybody is kind of taking cover. I don’t see many people out."
A storm left a path of damage from Sloan, Iowa, up through the Moville, Iowa, area, said Woodbury County Disaster Services Manager Gary Brown. He said the storm damaged and destroyed homes, buildings and crops. Crews were assessing the damage.
Pea-sized hail was reported in Moville, Iowa, where the National Weather Service said a mile-wide tornado touched down. It was seen just before 7 p.m. Early witness reports indicated that the town had seen major damage. Rural residents ran for their basements after a tornado ripped through a portion of Climbing Hill.
Several houses, barns and garages were hit. One home, in the 2700 block of 230th Street, had windows blown out but was left standing. A nearby garage was demolished, and debris was left impaled in one of the barns still standing on the property.
The twister stripped trees of bark and limbs, and ripped a hedgerow in half down the road.
Garrett Little, who saw the twister touch down in Climbing Hill, said the property belongs to his father-in-law, Ping Davis. Davis was not injured, he said.
“We heard the warnings on our weather radio,” Little said. “My first thought was to get to the basement. We don’t have sirens here. Everyone has battery-powered weather radios.”
The tornado left most of Climbing Hill without electricity after knocking down several power lines.
It was unclear how many homes in Moville were without power. MidAmerican Energy’s website showed 306 people were without power as of 9:45 p.m. Friday.
At 9 p.m., Davis’ neighbors were still out checking on their neighbors and offering assistance, and emergency vehicles were still bringing in equipment.
Erin Baird, who lived nearby, said she got a photo of the twister.
“I’ve never been so scared in my life,” she said.
Pierson Mayor Max Dunnington could spare only a moment just before 9 p.m. as he assessed damage south of town. Several properties appeared to be total losses, he said.
“We’ve got a mess out there in the county," Dunnington said.
Nancy and Daryl Bogenrief, who live in the 1200 block of Michigan Avenue, lost trees and two bins and said the timing was bad for rural residents.
"People are concerned about crop loss. Everybody was ready to put their combines in," said Nancy Bogenrief.
Sloan, where the storm first touched down on 330th Street on the west side of Interstate 29, was without power. Several homes received light damage, Lee Blanchard, Sloan fire chief, said, but the storm flipped over irrigation units and flattened corn in fields.
The worst damage officials saw was at Sioux Jerseys Dairy, in the 2000 block of Dallas Ave., in rural Salix, Iowa. The dairy received heavy structural damage and a propane leak, and cattle got loose, Blanchard said.
Officials were not aware of any people being hurt.
A tornado was spotted near Jefferson, S.D., about 10 miles northwest of Sioux City. Local firefighters reported considerable damage in the town, according to the National Weather Service.
Steve Stouffer, 53, who moved to the Wynstone housing development along the Missouri River near Jefferson in May, was helping a neighbor he hadn’t even met yet clear downed trees from his driveway.
“That’s what we do. That’s called being in a community,” Stouffer said. “People need help; I hope they would stop and help me someday.”
Stouffer was outside when the storm hit his neighborhood.
“I saw a wall of water coming, and then the wind switched from the east to the south real fast. Then I decided it was time to go into the house,” he said.
Stouffer said he lived in the Jackson, Neb., area when it was hit by a devastating tornado in 2001. “It’s the same thing,” he said. “People come out and clear the trees, then you sit back and assess the damage the next day.”
The Plymouth County Sheriff's Office said it got 911 calls about a tornado touching down in the southwest part of the county, with 10 reports of moderate to severe structure damage but no injuries.
The American Red Cross in Sioux City was assessing the situation to determine where services were most needed. The agency helps disaster victims with shelter, food, clothing and other emergency needs.
Anyone who has lost their home and needs shelter can contact the Red Cross at 712-252-4081.
Journal reporters Molly Montag, Bret Hayworth, Nate Robson Tim Gallagher and Conrad Swanson contributed to this report.
Our earlier story
SIOUX CITY | Woodbury County is under a tornado warning until 6:45 p.m., the National Weather Service said.
Earlier, a farmhouse two miles southwest of Wayne Neb., was destroyed by a tornado, the National Weather Service said.
The tornado, which touched down around 5:20 p.m. is still on the ground and heading northeast.
If the tornado continues along its current path it may get close to Sioux City, forecasters said.
"The storm is kind of taking a right turn," Mike Gillispie, a hydrologist with the National Weather Service in Sioux Falls. "If the storm holds its strength and stays together, the Sioux City area is definitely going to be on the edge."
Gillespie said the tornado is heading northeast across Dixon and Dakota counties in Nebraska.
Tornado warnings have also been issued for Dixon and Dakota Counties, Neb.
Check back here for more on this developing story.
Our earlier story:
SIOUX CITY | A tornado watch has been issued for several counties in the Sioux City area until 10 p.m. Friday.
Other affected counties are: Woodbury, Monona, Dakota, Dixon, Thurston, Fremont, Harrison, Mills, Montgomery, Page, Pottawatamie and Shelby.
Forecasters say severe thunderstorms and tornadoes are possible in Northwest Iowa, Southeast South Dakota and Northeast Nebraska Friday afternoon and evening.
Rain is likely to continue Saturday, possibly into the night, clearing up again on Sunday, forecasters say.
Our earlier story:
SIOUX CITY | Severe weather, including the possibility of tornadoes, is forecast for much of the region Friday. Sioux City school officials are monitoring the weather and the possible impact on tonight's football games.
The National Weather Service issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook warning indicating a potential for strong tornadoes south of a line extending from Elk Point, S.D., to Spencer, Iowa. The potential for a storm is strongest between 5 and 8 p.m., the report said.
Severe storms are expected in much of the region Friday afternoon. The greatest risk for tornadoes is along and south of U.S. Highway 20 in Northwest Iowa, National Weather Service Meteorologist Phillip Schumacher said in a web briefing.
Local school officials said they were watching the weather in case cancellations become necessary. As of 11:30 a.m., all Sioux City Community School District activities were on as scheduled. Football players from West High School are asked to bring extra clothes to the game against Des Moines Roosevelt in case severe weather requires an overnight stay, said Sioux City Community Schools Spokeswoman Alison Benson.
The Dakota Valley High School homecoming was moved to the Dakota Dome on the University of South Dakota campus in Vermillion. The game will still start at 7 p.m.
Okoboji Community Schools posted a hazardous weather plan on its Facebook Page, should the weather impact Friday's homecoming game in Okoboji, Iowa.
Siouxland is expected to escape heavy snow forcing road closures and blizzard conditions in South Dakota's Black Hills. Some areas had received nearly 20 inches of snow by Friday morning.
State transportation officials closed Interstate 90 between Wyoming and Sturgis, S.D. The South Dakota Highway Patrol conducted sweeps of the closed areas Friday morning, searching for stranded motorists.
More snow was expected throughout the day, but not in Siouxland.
"Not right now," said National Weather Service hydro-meteorological technician Brad Adams . "Check back at the end of the month."
Check back here for details in this developing story.