Get Prepared for Severe Weather

RELEASE DATE: Jan 03, 2018

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It seems as if spring has finally sprung in Nebraska as the National Weather Service reports there is an enhanced risk of severe thunderstorms across southeast Nebraska from late afternoon through early tonight. Tornadoes, large hail and damaging winds are all possible. Severe weather may also continue through Thursday.

The National Weather Service has issued tornado watches for Adams, Burt, Butler, Cass, Clay, Colfax, Cuming, Dodge, Douglas, Fillmore, Franklin, Hall, Hamilton, Kearney, Gage, Lancaster, Jefferson, Johnson, Nuckolls, Otoe, Pawnee, Sarpy, Saunders, Saline, Seward, Thayer, Thurston and Washington and Webster counties

Gov. Pete Ricketts encourages all Nebraskans to monitor weather reports, listen to a NOAA weather radio and local news sources to stay aware of impending severe weather.

““The National Weather Service, broadcast media, and local spotter systems provide warnings needed for us to quickly respond to severe weather,” Gov. Ricketts said. “As weather develops throughout the day and into the evening, everyone should stay situationally aware and attentive to weather reports, so you can respond accordingly and take protective action.”

Nebraska Emergency Management Agency monitors weather conditions 24/7 and is ready to support local communities in the event of an emergency caused by severe weather

If you do not already have an emergency preparedness kit, visit the NEMA website at for a list of items to include in your family’s kit.

”Don't wait until an emergency siren sounds to start looking for flashlights and other things,” said NEMA Assistant Director Bryan Tuma. “Make sure the entire family knows where to go at home, at work, in school, at the mall or anywhere they might be when the storms strike. Know where you will take shelter.”

Tuma encourages people to make sure they know the difference between a watch and a warning:

  • Tornado Watch: Be Prepared. Tornadoes are possible in and near the watch area. Review and discuss your emergency plans and check supplies and your safe room.

  • Tornado Warning: Take Action, A tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. There is imminent danger to life and property. Move to an interior room on the lowest floor of a sturdy building. Avoid windows. If in a mobile home, a vehicle, or outdoors, move to the closest substantial shelter and protect yourself from flying debris.

The Nebraska State Patrol is urging motorists to be prepared for the potential of hazardous conditions. The expected thunderstorm could make driving difficult.

“We want motorists to be as prepared as possible in the event they encounter severe weather,” said Colonel John Bolduc, Superintendent of the Nebraska State Patrol. “Adjust your driving to the conditions on the road and if you’re wipers are on, your headlights should be too.”

The NSP Highway Helpline is available 24 hours per day for motorists in need of assistance. Drivers can reach NSP by dialing *55 from any cell phone. Call 911 for any emergency.

Nebraska Department of Transportation (NDOT) crews are monitoring changing conditions throughout the area and will be ready to respond should this spring storm impact Nebraska roads.

“Preparedness is key,” said NDOT Director Kyle Schneweis. “Check 511 for road conditions and keep tuned to local weather and news outlets for traveling conditions. If motorists find themselves in the path of a tornado, remember that highway overpasses are not a recommended shelter. Assess the situation and seek appropriate shelter, if the threat is immediate, exit the roadway safely and take shelter in low lying area or ditch.”

Travelers are urged to be alert, be aware and check the most up-to-date weather and travel conditions available through 511, Nebraska’s Advanced Traveler Information System. The system is available at all times via phone by dialing 511, online at, or Nebraska 511’s smartphone app. Should travel be necessary, NDOT reminds motorists to be prepared.