It’s not really springtime in Nebraska until you’ve had your first big night of severe weather, and Wayne County residents experienced an extended shot of it Monday.
Early in the afternoon, heavy rains and hail pelted the Wakefield area, a precursor to what would happen later in the evening as severe thunderstorms rolled through the area, dropping heavy rains and pea-to-nickel size hail throughout the area.
Winside firefighters had just finished their monthly meeting Monday evening when they turned to the south and saw a tail dancing off in the distance. The tornado appeared to have touched down in northeastern Stanton County about six miles south of town, according to Winside firefighter Brian Petzoldt.
“We had just finished our meeting and a couple of the guys were leaving and they looked out and saw the funnel cloud,” he said. “Don Skokan and I went south and they said it stalled out somewhere near Maskenthine Lake.”
Petzoldt said there had been no indication on radar that a tornado was forming, and he said they were fortunate that the one they were watching ran out of energy.
“As soon as we got to the curve (south of Winside on Highway 35), we could see it forming and searching for some instability in the air, and it was a good thing it didn’t happen.”
Severe thunderstorms were the only thing Wayne residents experienced, as heavy rains and pea-sized hail fell on the city over about a 90-minute period, prompting two severe thunderstorm warnings by the National Weather Service.
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