Most people talk about the weather when trying to make small talk. But for the past few months, folks in central Nebraska have had a lot of weather to talk about - and this last week has brought some severe and unusual events.
Severe thunderstorms made their way across central Nebraska Sept. 22, prompting tornado warnings for most of Custer County and adjoining counties. Fairly heavy damage was reported from the storm just south of Broken Bow, including a building at the Rod Leak residence three miles south of town.
According to the Custer County Emergency Manage-ment Director and the National Weather Service, the damage was caused by straight line winds rather than a tornado. Damage was also reported in the vicinity of Ryno Road where a roof was lifted up and set back down on a quonset and heavy damage was done to a barn roof on the K.C. Gottschalk farm. There were also a number of pivots turned over near the Adams Land & Cattle south lot, according to the Custer County EMD.
The National Weather Service reports record rainfall amounts in the area from the storm, with the Broken Bow and Berwyn area receiving some of the largest totals. The Broken Bow airport reported just over three inches of rain, with nearly three inches recorded just northeast of Berwyn.
While the National Weather Service did not report any tornadoes on the ground or any suspected tornado damage, a number of photos of funnels just south of Broken Bow have been circulating by area residents.
The area south of Broken Bow was also the site of a very unusual phenomenon in Nebraska - an earthquake. On Sunday, Sept. 26, a weak earthquake was detected six miles southwest of Oconto by the United States Geological Survey. The earthquake measured a magnitude of 3.0 on the Richter Scale. No damage has been reported.
Many residents in the Oconto area have been sharing stories around the water cooler of feeling their houses shake at the time of the earthquake, which occurred at 2:55 p.m. The epicenter of the quake was 25 miles south-southwest of Broken Bow
One young mom, who lives between Oconto and Lexington, told family members she was sitting in the house and felt it shake. Thinking her son had run the four-wheeler into the side of the house, she ran outside to check on his well being. Her son exclaimed that he had not run into the house, but did see it shaking - not a common occurrence around Oconto.
Earthquakes in Nebraska are often infrequent and weak with magnitudes of 3.0 or less. The previous time an earthquake occurred in western and north central Nebraska was March 19, near Springview in Keya Paha County. That earthquake measure a magnitude of 2.7.
The last time a moderate earthquake occurred in western and north central Nebraska was on March 28, 1964. This earthquake occurred near Merriman Nebraska and measured a magnitude of 5.1.