JOHNSON LAKE — A tornado touched down after dark and impacted several areas around Johnson Lake during the late evening on Friday, May 5.
Much of western and south central Nebraska was under a Slight Risk, a two out of five, for severe weather, as issued by the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla.
A subsequent severe thunderstorm watch was issues across much of western and central Nebraska at 4:50 p.m.
Weather models had indicated two rounds of severe weather across the area; first thunderstorms were forecast to develop near the Nebraska-Kansas state line, with some supercells expected. Later a line of thunderstorms forming in the Panhandle were expected to move across the state after dark.
One of the earlier storms did organize into a supercell as it departed Gosper County and entered Phelps County around 9 p.m. Large hail and winds were the primary threat with this storm.
After dark, a Quasi-Linear Convective System (QLCS), or squall line formed in the western part of Nebraska and was moving eastward, according to National Weather Service – Hastings Warning Coordinator Mike Mortiz.
Mortiz said QLCS systems are common after dark in this part of the country and can often feature embedded supercell features that can spin up shorter lived tornadoes.
Part of the QLCS system began to bow out at it entered the far north of Gosper County and an area of rotation could be seen on radar. Mortiz said a lowering had been reported in Frontier County, which prompted a tornado warning to be issued.
A tornado did indeed form, touching down at 10:54 p.m. four miles northwest of Johnson Lake. There were three irrigation pivots toppled before the tornado entered the Lakeview Acres area.
“At least two large storage sheds were totally destroyed in that area (Lakeview Acres). There were several instances of damage in the area, such as trees, smaller buildings, windows and some roof damage, including two 2x4 stud driven into the roof of one home,” per the NWS Hastings damage survey.
Mortiz noted there was a high variability of damage in the Lakeview Acres area, while some sheds were destroyed, others in the area showed little damage.
Dawson County Emergency Manager Brian Woldt said it, “looked like a bomb went off,” in the two storage sheds that were destroyed. There was a plethora of other damage including tree limbs knocked down, garage doors blown out, shingles ripped off, etc.
In one case, a basketball hoop was snapped off near the ground, with the rest falling over in a heap.
The tornado then moved east across the lake itself before impacting the Kirby Point area in Gosper County.
“It did significant damage to several homes on the east side of the lake right along the Gosper county line. Along the shore line, at least three homes in a row had all or part of a covered porch blown apart, and one home had a large section of its roof torn off,” per the NWS Hastings damage survey.
One flat cabin roof was completely torn off. A pickup a one of the campgrounds along the lake was heavily damaged by a falling tree limb. Some campers reported riding out the storm in the concrete bathrooms.
Gosper County Emergency Manger Roger Powell said Kirby Point was the hardest hit area with damage to homes and out buildings being prevalent.
The tornado then shifted down along East Shore Dr. “It upset an irrigation pivot and peeled back some metal roofing from a large building just east of the lake,” the NWS Hastings survey stated.
The tornado finally lifted east of County Road 428 around 11 a.m. It had been on the ground for around eight minutes and had traveled five miles across two counties.
“The maximum wind speed was estimated to be 95 mph based upon the residential roof damage and the storage building being destroyed. The width was estimated to be 80 yards,” per NWS Hastings.
The tornado was assigned an EF-1 rating. There were no reported injuries or deaths associated with the tornado or parent thunderstorm in the Johnson Lake area.
The Johnson Lake EF-1 was the first tornado to touchdown in Dawson County in four years, the last time was May 17, 2019.
Dawson Public Power District Manager of Customer Service Marsha Banzhaf said 11 poles were snapped in Dawson County and that around 1,000 people were without power after Friday night.
A crew was brought in from North Platte to assist local crews and they labored throughout the weekend to restore power. Banzhaf said several buildings were too damaged to safely restore power to.
Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District said in a social media post about the storm damage, that if it was life threatening or required urgent attention, to handle it immediately and then to contact the land administration team who will expedite the permitting process.
CNPPID stated that all downed tree debris should be gathered in a common area within each Lake Association and CNPPID staff would start picking up on Monday.
Any residents with questions were told to call Luke Ritz at 308-529-0009 with questions.
LEXINGTON — Several businesses in the footprint of the Lexington east viaduct project say their daily operations will be negatively affected by the final design.
The purpose of the east viaduct project is to improve traffic flow around the intersection of County Road 435, Highway 30 and the Union Pacific Railroad. It is intended to reduce crashes and provide more access that is consistent with Lexington’s planning efforts.
The Federal Highway Administration noted in a 2019 informational meeting that the crash rate at this intersection is higher than other crossings of a similar layout.
According to FHWA research, Lane said, the crossing is blocked by Union Pacific trains 79 times a day for an average of two minutes; in a 24-hour period that equals three hours of delay.
Scope of project
In November 2013 the City of Lexington held a public meeting on the proposed project; three possible concepts were presented. Concept C, which featured the viaduct to the east of Road 435, crossing Road 436, was eliminated at this meeting. During a joint City of Lexington and Dawson County meeting, Concept B, a version that had the viaduct to the west of 435, was eliminated, leaving Concept A.
Concept A shows the viaduct being built on County Road 435. This plan would necessitate several changes in how the area is accessed.
First, the railroad crossing at Road 435 to incorporate the viaduct, Highway 30 and the UPRR, the crossing at Road 436, a mile east, would also be closed.
Walnut Street, which flanks the railroad and Highway 30 to the south, would be closed at the 435 intersection.
To the north, the intersection of Road 755 and 435 would be improved to handle the increased traffic flow.
Road 755 would no longer continue straight east from Highway 30. Its existing intersection with Highway 30 would be closed and a new connection with Highway 30 would be built.
A turn lane would be added to Highway 30, where 755’s new connection would be.
Two new roads would be built to help facilitate the viaduct. New road “A” would extend west from 435, south of the viaduct. New road “B” would run north and south from Walnut Street to new road “A” to direct traffic on Walnut to access the viaduct and vice versa.
The proposed project would not be constructed under traffic and it would require detouring Highway 30 and local traffic, according to FHWA information.
Local traffic will use County Road 756 and Taft Street north of Highway 30, and Highway 283, East Walnut Street or County Road 754 south of Highway 30, according to FHWA.
Tom Downey with Downey Drilling said he received the final plans in June 2021 and was concerned about how they would affect his business and others within the footprint.
Part of Downey’s property will be acquired for the project, including the digging of a large ditch for water drainage that Downey feels is overly large for its purpose.
He said the project will affect the Downey Drilling property, which was constructed in 2017 after the company moved from inside Lexington.
“We are proud of what we have built,” Downey said.
His concern also reached to nearby businesses: Titan Machinery, Randy’s and Brian’s Towing and Kohl Welding.
Downey said the project’s footprint will cause a “paradigm shift” in how these businesses conduct their day-to-day operations.
Brian Thornburg, an owner of Randy’s and Brian’s Towing, said the current plan for the viaduct will “kill his business,” as it will affect how damaged vehicles are moved onto the business’s property on Road 435, north of Highway 30 and the railroad tracks.
Thornburg said when a wrecker is pulling a damaged semi and trailer, they can be 100 feet long. He said losing access to their business from Road 435 will mean accessing it potentially from Highway 30, which will create a dangerous traffic situation, negating the reason the viaduct is being built.
Thornburg also has concerns with water drainage and whether the design will lead to flooding of his business property.
Another issue frustrating Thornburg is that only concepts, with bits and pieces of the project, were presented prior to 2021. Then in June 2021, the final project design arrived. When residents asked NDOT if changes could be made, they were told it was too late.
Jeff Kohl with Kohl Welding, located just north of Randy’s and Brian’s Towing, also has concerns about how semis loaded with material will be able to access the property.
He said there is “no chance” for access with the current design. Kohl said he needs this access for trucks and semis bringing in steel.
“This will lock out access to my business,” he said. “I’ll have no driveway.”
Kohl also has concerns with drainage and noted the business is 15-18 inches lower than the ditch. He said he is not sure how the water will run when the viaduct is constructed.
Downey, Thornburg and Kohl also expressed concerns that Union Pacific’s plans had been given more weight than the local Lexington businesses.
Robynn Tysver, Union Pacific Railroad media relations, said the viaduct project is part of a broader state and federal effort to close at-grade crossings.
“Union Pacific supports both federal and state efforts to reduce the number of at-grade crossings — or street-level crossings — to help improve safety for motorists, pedestrians and our employees, and to improve the flow of traffic for the public,” Tysver said. “The project in Lexington, which is being led by the Nebraska Department of Transportation, is part of that broader effort.
“Union Pacific does not have any plans to expand our infrastructure at Lexington at any time in the near future. We anticipate the construction of this project will have minimal impact on our operations.”
Jeni Campana, communications manager for the Nebraska Department of Transportation, said, “The City of Lexington and NDOT are partnering together to accomplish the Lexington East Viaduct. This project will improve mobility for the community and increase safety for the traveling public. We look forward to providing final design to the community and stakeholders by the end of the year.”
NDOT did not offer comment on how impacts to business were identified, what accommodations were made for businesses or a current timeline.
The Federal Highway Administration was also asked about the local business impacts, timeline and how feedback from those in the footprint were incorporated but did not offer comment.
Nancy Singer with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Office of Public Affairs stated, “The environmental document for the Lexington East Viaduct Project was an Environmental Assessment (EA) with a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI), which was signed by FHWA on Dec. 17, 2019.”
The AroundTown section of the Clipper-Herald is to notify the public of upcoming events and to publicize pertinent information from individuals, groups or service organizations.
The family of Craig Gibbons requests a card shower in honor of his 80th birthday on May 24. Cards may be sent to 75864 Highway 21, Lexington, NE 68850.
Amherst Dances: All dances start at 7 p.m. We’re STILL DANCING, Miller Dances at the Amherst Community Hall on Main St. May 13: No Dance, May 20: Classic Country, May 27: Curt Pfeil and Friends.
The Dawson County Historical Museum will host a Town and County Garden Plant Sale on May 13 from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. A Spring Fling Car Show will be hosted on Saturday, May 27 at 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
A free blood pressure clinic at the Cozad Grand Generation Center courtesy of Angels Care will be hosted on Tuesday, May 16 at 11 a.m. Everyone is welcome to attend.
The Lexington Area Christian Women’s Connection will host an event on Tuesday, May 16 at 12 p.m. at Kirks. The speaker will be Nancy Dempsey of Raytown, Mo., music provided by Jameson Curran and the special feature will be Judy Lauby of Lexington. The reservations and cancellations required by 12 p.m. on Monday, May 15. Call Sheri Giesbrecht at 308-320-0952 or Jonelle Lans 308-325-8279.
The Overton Alumni Association annual banquet will be Sunday, May 28, 2023 at the Overton High School gym at 6 p.m. Honor classes are graduates from years ending in, “3.” However, all graduates are invited to attend. This will be the 122nd banquet.
The Glenn Hawks Service Building located at 801 West Vine will offer disposal of trash the third Saturday of the following Months: May 20, June 17, July 15, Aug. 19, Sept. 23 and Oct. 21 from 8 a.m. to noon. Household trash and furniture may be brought to the Service Building and disposed of for a minimal fee. We will accept small loads of wood but full truckloads or trailer loads must be taken to the Landfill during the hours of Monday – Friday 7:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. One dollar is charged for the disposal of appliances. Most metal products and bikes can be disposed of at no charge. We do not accept Hazardous Waste Materials such as Lawn chemicals, Household Cleaning Chemicals or Paint. No Construction debris is allowed such as Shingles, Drywall or concrete. All tree limbs, Grass and Garden Debris must be taken to the Compost site on East Walnut. Fines will be issued for those disposing of furniture, mattresses or wood. This service is for Lexington residents only.
The Dawson County History Museum is hosting “Coffee with Carol” the first Wednesday of the month from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
The Cozad Grand Generation Center will continue to have Home Delivered Meals to our Community Monday — Friday. If you would like to receive Home Delivered Meals or would like to pick up a Curbside Meal at 410 W 9th St from 11:30 a.m. — 12:30 p.m., please call us at 308-784-2747 by 9:30 a.m. that morning, so we can arrange everything for your convenience and we have enough food made up available. Our Bus Service will not be running but if you need anything please call us and we will try to help you out. If you know of anyone that needs meals please spread the word so we can all get through this trying time.
The Dawson County Democrats meet at 7 p.m. the first Tuesday of each month. The next meeting will be May 2. Chauncey Brown Planned Parenthood North Central States wil be speaker. Agenda: Nebraska Legislature Bills.
WIC Clinic Sites, Dawson County: Lexington – Community Action Partnership of Mid-Nebraska Building, 931 W. 7th St., Tuesday through Thursday the first 4 full weeks for each month.
RYDE Transit — Public Transportation is available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. To schedule a ride in Dawson County or Lexington call 308-324-3670. Public Transportation is easy to ride and open to everyone.
The Lexington Public Library hours: Monday-Thursday: 9 a.m. — 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday: 9 a.m. — 5 p.m. , Sunday: Closed. Watch for lots of fun programs and activities this summer. Also, we are continuing curbside services; call the Library at (308) 324-2151 for information.
Novel Stitchers meets in the Board Room at the Lexington Public Library from 3 p.m. — 5 p.m. on Tuesdays. Bring your portable project, quilting, knitting, embroidery, crochet and join us for stitching and socializing.
Storytime meets on Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m. in the Children’s Department of the Lexington Public Library. Children and their care givers are invited to join us for a story and activities.
The Wilson Public Library normal hours are, Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. — 7 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. — 1 p.m. Public and private meetings have resumed, with 24-hour notice appreciated. Limits to how many attendees based upon room need, what equipment is available, and other restrictions can be found by calling us at 308-784-2019 or stopping at the front desk. Normal policies about room rental can be found under Policies at www.wilsonpubliclibrary.org.
The Wilson Public Library is hosting two Community Chats in May. On Wednesday, May 10, at 11 a.m., Nikki Schwanz, Cozad City Administrator, will talk about upcoming and ongoing projects happening in Cozad. On Wednesday, May 17, at 12 p.m., Allison Donner from Mid-State Aviation will be at the library to talk about the upcoming Platte Valley Tailwinds event at the airport during Father’s Day weekend, June 16-18.
LEXINGTON GRAND GENERATION CENTER
Exercise room is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.
12:45 p.m. — Cards
1:00 p.m. — FROG
2:30 p.m. — Hot Cookies
10:00 a.m. — 4:00 p.m. — Community Action COVID Booster Clinic
12:45 p.m. — Farkle
2:00 — 4:00 p.m. — Mothers Day Spring Tea Event
7:00 p.m. — Quilt Guild
11:30 a.m. — 12:45 p.m. — Birthday Dinner
12:45 p.m. — Cards
1:00 p.m. — FROG
LEXINGTON GRAND GENERATION CENTER MENU
Homemade bread everyday. Choice of skim, 2% or chocolate milk. No reservations needed except for large groups. Serving time: 11:30 a.m.
Mushroom Steak, Baked Potato, Chuck Wagon Corn, Tropical Fruit, Apple Slices
French Onion Pork Chops, Parmesan Potatoes, Roasted Cauliflower, Peaches
Birthday Dinner: Beef Roast, Mashed Potatoes with Gravy, Green Beans, Fresh Oranges, Dinner Roll
COZAD GRAND GENERTION CENTER
10:00 a.m. — Free Groceries
1:00 p.m. — Foot Clinic
5:00 p.m. — Free Produce, Dine In/Drive In
COZAD GRAND GENERTION CENTER MENU
Ham and Beans, Stewed Tomatoes, Pears, Cornbread, Salad Bar, Ice Cream
Taco Burger, Tater Tots, Pork and Beans, Peaches
Evening Meal: Pork Ribs, Beans, Cheesy Potatoes, Watermelon
Chicken Florentine, Lasagna, Broccoli, Pears, Salad Bar, Pumpkin Bars
FARNAM SENIOR CENTER
When Eustis-Farnam Schools are closed due to weather, the Senior Center will also close
Hamburger Pot Casserole, Relish Tray, Lettuce Salad, Pineapple, Rolls, Milk
Pork Cutlets, Potato Casserole, Stewed Tomatoes, Peaches, Rolls, Milk
Ham and Cheese Sandwich, Hash Browns, Corn Salad, Apricots, Bun, Milk
GOSPER COUNTY SENIOR CENTER
All meals served with a vegetable, fruit and a sweet item
French Dip Sandwich
Veggie Meat Bake
AA/NA: open meeting Friday nights at 7 p.m. at Plum Creek Mall at Two Bridges Counseling, 513 N. Grant St., Suite 3a, Lexington.
Westside Group: AA/NA: open meeting on Monday and Friday nights at 7 p.m. Meetings are held at Grace Lutheran Church, 105 E. 17th St., Lexington, use the south door.
AA Elwood: at 7 p.m. on Sundays at United Methodist Church, 601 Rush in Elwood.
Al-Anon: meets Mondays at 7 p.m. at the Grace Lutheran Church, 105 E. 17th St., Lexington; use the office door. For more information call 308-325-5827.
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings non-smoking: at noon on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at St. Ann’s Catholic Church basement, 301 E. Sixth St.
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings, non-smoking: Smithfield: At 8 p.m. on Thursdays at Hope Lutheran Church, 74098 Road 436 in Smithfield. Call 785-3567 or 472-3376.
American Legion in Lexington meets the first Tuesday of the month at 7 p.m. at Heartland Museum of Military Vehicles.
Celebrate Recovery: a 12-step, anonymous program helping participants overcome any hurts, habits, addictions or hang-ups. Meets at 6:30 p.m. on Fridays at Parkview Baptist Church’s Refuge (Parkview South Campus), 1105 Park St. Contact: 308-324-4410.
Community Action Partnership of Mid-Nebraska Public Immunization Clinic, 1st & 3rd Mondays every month: Open 10 a.m.-noon and 2-4 p.m. by appointment at 931 West 7th St., Lexington. Clinics serve ages 2 months — 18 years. Children must be accompanied by an adult, previous vaccination records required. Contact 308-865-1352 ext. 143.
Dawson/Gosper County CASA: seeking Volunteers. CASA Volunteers are everyday people from all walks of life, who advocate through the court system in the interests of children. Contact 324-7364.
Grupo Lexington AA (Spanish Speaking) open meeting Saturday nights at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 11 p.m., at 114 West 6th St. in Lexington.
The Lexington Lions Club meets the 4th Monday every month at the Lexington Grand Generation Center.
Lexington Rotary Club meets the first and third Tuesday of the month at Dawson County Annex Building at noon. For more information or to join call 308-325-7006.
Parkinson’s Disease Support Group Meetings are held the second Thursday each month at 2 p.m. in the education room at the Community Health & Fitness Center (1600 W. 13th, Lexington). For more information contact Dixie Menke at 308-325-5350.
SMART Recovery meets at St. Peter’s in the Valley Episcopal Church, 905 East 13th St., Tuesdays and Thursdays 7-8:30 p.m., Saturdays, 4:30-5:30 p.m.
Survivors of Suicide Support Group meets every second Monday of the month from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at First Baptist Church, 1616 W. 39th St., in Kearney. For more information contact Carol Rowedder.
LEXINGTON – The Orthman Community YMCA offers kids a chance to discover the great outdoors and keep their brains and bodies active and engaged this summer with its fun and educational camps and programs.
The summer fun kicks off June 11-14 with the YMCA’s annual Outdoor Adventure Camp at Camp Arrowhead. This is an overnight camp that begins at 3 p.m. on Sunday, June 11, and lasts until Wednesday, June 14, at noon. Activities include setting up tents, fishing, watching movies, swimming in the lake, arts and crafts, horseback riding and more. YMCA staff and volunteers will supervise children at all times. The registration deadline for camp is June 1.
The YMCA is offering three new programs this summer for kids of all ages:
Lil’ Beat is a parent/child drumming class for kids ages 18 months to 4 years. The class will be Tuesdays, June 6-20, from 9:15-9:45 a.m. The registration deadline is June 1.
Teen Chess League is a great way for kids to learn strategy and keep their brains working all summer. It will be Wednesdays, June 14-July 12, from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. and will include a lunch. It is for kids entering grades 4-8.
Lifetime Sports Academy is a weeklong camp (June 26-30) that will keep kids active while they learn the basics of cornhole, pickleball, ultimate frisbee, badminton and other backyard games. This program is also for kids entering grades 4-8.
The Y will also be bringing back its Robotics Club this summer, which will be Tuesdays, Aug. 15-29, from 6-7:30 p.m. for kids entering grades K-8.
Several special events are also planned for this summer, including:
Family Water Nerf Wars, July 6, 7-8 p.m.
YMCA at the Fair, July 12-15
Summer Splash, July 26, 1-2 p.m.
Outdoor Movie night, Saturday, Aug. 12, at 8:30 p.m.
For all the details on Y summer programs, download a camp guide at www.ymcaoftheprairie.org/programs. Or, call the YMCA at (308) 324-1970 or stop by at 1207 N. Grant in Lexington.