Spring showers can bring severe weather

After a winter that seemed like it would never end, spring began with a ferocity that may have some wishing it stuck around longer.

Record flooding across the OPPD service territory is going to mean people will be cleaning up and recovering from the devastation for months.

March 25-29 was Severe Weather Awareness Week in Nebraska. But severe weather can strike at any time in Nebraska. And that spring showers can also bring severe weather.

Forecasters with DTN, which provides OPPD and other energy companies with weather forecasts, expect a colder spring and above-average precipitation is for our area. DTN predicts a slightly slower and less active tornado season, but warned even with a below-average season, there will still be a lot of severe weather events. A typical year sees about 1,000 tornadoes in the U.S.

2018 Severe weather

Here are some quick facts about the 2018 severe weather season in Nebraska, provided by the National Weather Service office in Valley.

Total tornadoes: 33 (this is nine less than the 1950-2018 average)

Widest tornado: 200 yards (June 30 south of Friend, Neb., in Saline County)

Strongest tornado: EF1 (four of these tornadoes occurred in 2018, two on June 17, one on June 30 and the fourth on Aug. 6)

Most tornadoes in one month: 24 in June, 2018

Most in one day: 5 on June 12 and 30, 2018

First tornado of the year: May 1

Last tornado of the year: Sept. 19

Most common time for a tornado: 5 p.m.

Weather aware

Do you know the difference between a watch and a warning? There are key indicators that activate these weather advisories.

Watch: This means severe weather is possible. Check for forecast updates, monitor sky conditions and know where to take shelter

Warning: This means severe weather is imminent. Take shelter immediately! Seek further information from media outlets and weather service announcements. You should also check for forecast updates.

Tornado safety

Tornadoes can occur at any time of day, on any day of the year. Be prepared by following these tips:

  • Have a plan of action before severe weather strikes. You need to respond quickly when a warning is issued or a tornado is spotted.
  • Know how your community sends weather warnigs. Some use outdoor sirens, while others depend on media and smartphones to alert residents.
  • Pick a tornado-safe room in your home, such as a basement, cellar or interior room on the lowest level with no windows. Ensure all members of your family know what to do in a severe weather situation.
  • Prepare an emergency kit to have on hand should severe weather strike.


Jason Kuiper

About Jason Kuiper

Jason Kuiper joined OPPD as a communications specialist in 2015. He formerly worked as a staff writer and reporter at the Omaha World-Herald.

Laura King-Homan

About Laura King-Homan

Laura King-Homan is a contributor to the Storm & Outage Center and a communications specialist at OPPD. She has nearly 20 years of print journalism and design experience, which lets her tell the stories of OPPD and its employees both graphically and through her writing.