United Group Insurance

Thousands still without power following Thursday’s storms


August 19th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – Powerful thunderstorms that ripped through eastern Nebraska and western Iowa damaged homes, vehicles and businesses and has left thousands of people without power. Hail from the rain-laden storms shattered windows, roofs and siding at homes around the region. No storm-related deaths have been reported.

Ann Thelen, Director of Communications for MidAmerican Energy, said there were numerous power poles and wires down in Council Bluffs. Thelen said crews were being brought in from all over in Iowa, to help with the repair work. As of 10:30-a.m, more than 46-hundred MidAmerican customers in southwest Iowa were without power, including 1,884 in Council Bluffs, 874 in Mills County, 441 in Bedford, 44 in Glenwood, and nine in Griswold. Thelen said the energy company hopes to have all power restored to customers, by Saturday night.

Omaha’s Eppley Airfield was closed for a time and more than 35 flights were delayed or canceled because of the storms, which rolled through at around 5-p.m. Seven aircraft were damaged, and one Southwest Airlines pilot was struck by hail as he walked off a plane and onto the jet bridge. He was taken in serious condition to a local hospital.

In Council Bluffs, baseball- and softball-size hail knocked out 19 skylights and three classroom windows on the St. Albert Catholic Schools campus. Several cars in the parking lot were hit. School officials say about 25 volunteers worked to clean up the debris, and cover the broken windows and skylights.