Friday, October 24, 2014
   
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Severe storm roars through area, damaging crops, trees

Many Gothenburg and area residents awoke in the wee hours of Thursday to the sound of hail pummeling their houses and winds gusting up to 60 mph.

A storm earlier Wednesday night also blew through the area.

In town, damage consisted mostly of downed tree branches and one tree.

Power was cut to one house when a tree fell on the service line, according to city officials.

Damage was worse in the surrounding area as hail and high winds affected corn and other crops in most directions.

Agronomist Andy Jobman said he found a good strip of hail that started a few miles east of Zion Lutheran Church and tracked southeast to Cozad.

Shannon Peterson, who farms with husband Paul about 10 miles north of Gothenburg, said the storm knocked grain out of wheat shafts and stripped their corn at bit.

“The corn will come back but nothing like it was,” Peterson said, noting that other farmers were affected worse, especially those farther north.

Damage also occurred south of Gothenburg. Corn in fields farmed by Troy and Heather Franzen was stripped.

Jobman said much of the corn blew down without breaking during the storm.

“This happened particularly in fields that were just watered,” he explained. “The ground was wet, got more wet from the rain and then it just couldn’t stand in the wind.”

Some corn was broken off because of the wind and the fragile state of the stalks at this time because of rapid growth, he said.

At some point, Jobman said much of the corn should stand back up.

“It won’t be perfectly straight but better than it was after the storm,” Jobman said. “Should be minor yield losses as long as it pollinates okay.”

City services director Shane Gruber said the city “dodged the bullet” a couple of times Wednesday night and early Thursday morning as more severe damage from wind and hail happened farther east.

In town, he said most of the tree damage was north of 20th Street and along Lake Avenue and Avenues F and G where there are a lot of silver maples.

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