SIOUX CITY | Severe weather dumped heavy rain, hail and flooded streets in around Siouxland Thursday afternoon.

Doppler radar showed the system essentially appeared from thin air near Laurel, Nebraska, and picked up steam as it traveled east toward Sioux City around 4 p.m. The system flooded streets and littered quarter-size hail in Sioux City and softball-size hail in Sergeant Bluff. 

Major Tony Wingert, with the Woodbury County Sheriff's Office, said a home near the Southern Hills Mall area took "a beating."

"They had windows broke, holes in siding, holes in the yard," he said. "It took a whooping."  

There were reports of tornado formations near Hornick, Iowa, and Cedar County in Nebraska. But Kyle Weisser, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said nothing has been confirmed.

"There has been nothing confirmed on the tornado front, but it takes a while to hear back especially on days like this," he said at 8:30 p.m. after the system passed. "The storms were huge, a lot of times you get a lot of smaller tornadoes out of this so maybe a farmstead gets hit but the news never gets out about it."   

The downpour flooded many streets in Sioux City and South Sioux City. The southbound lane of Interstate 29 was completely flooded under the Veteran's Memorial Bridge. Traffic was halted on that stretch of roadway for more than an hour. Dakota Avenue in South Sioux City was also flooded.

Weisser said the weather service has not yet had any rainfall amounts reported in the area. 

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Wingert said rural Woodbury County fared "pretty well."

"Bronson had some small tree limbs down and a lot of small hail; so much there were small drifts of hailstones. And a couple of light poles were bent over," he said. " ... But other than that, we ended up pretty lucky."

Most metro high school baseball and softball games were postponed due to weather. And the Big Parade for Sioux City's Mardi Gras Festivale was called off, but festivities inside the convention center continued Thursday night.



Crime and general assignment reporter

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