JACKSON, NEBRASKA residents evacuated after tornado strikes town, destroys 10 homes

Saturday, August 18th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

JACKSON, Neb. (AP) _ Most residents returned home Saturday, a day after a tornado destroyed 10 houses and knocked out telephones and electricity.

``In looking at the damage, we're very fortunate,'' Lt. Gov. Dave Maurstad said at a news conference Saturday. ``We're very lucky that there were no fatalities.''

Only minor injuries were reported after the twister struck late Friday afternoon. One woman had a broken ankle and two children had cuts and bruises.

Utility crews worked until almost 4 a.m. Saturday to remove downed power lines and restore electricity to the city's water pumps. They hoped to have power restored to all of the town by late Saturday, said state patrol Capt. David Winkler.

Only residents were being allowed inside the town limits Saturday, Winkler said.

Dakota County Deputy Sheriff Bill Thompson watched as the tornado plowed through the town of 205 people.

``I literally saw a full-sized tree in the air,'' Thompson said. ``The tree was just being tossed and there was debris, tree limbs, whole trees, halves of trees.''

In addition to the 10 homes that were destroyed, there was heavy damage to Jackson Public School and the local telephone office, and broken glass was strewn across town. Fallen trees blocked the town's main street.

Maurstad had authorized a disaster declaration on Friday for the community about 85 miles north of Omaha.