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Tornadoes collapse buildings and level homes in Nebraska and Iowa

One of the most destructive tornadoes moved for miles Friday through mostly rural farmland before chewing up homes and other structures in the suburbs of Omaha.

TornadoesOMAHA, NEBRASKA: Tornadoes wreaked havoc Friday in the Midwest, causing a building to collapse with dozens of people inside and destroying and damaging hundreds of homes, many around Omaha, Nebraska.

As of Friday night, there were several reports of injuries but no immediate deaths reported. Tornado warnings continued to be issued into the night in Iowa.

Three people were hurt in Nebraska’s Lancaster County when a tornado hit an industrial building, causing it to collapse with 70 people inside. Several were trapped, but everyone was evacuated and the injuries were not life-threatening, authorities said.

One of the most destructive tornadoes moved for miles Friday through mostly rural farmland before chewing up homes and other structures in the suburbs of Omaha, a city of 485,000 people with a metropolitan area population of about 1 million.

Photos on social media showed the small city of Minden, Iowa, about 30 miles (48.3 kilometers) northeast of Omaha also sustained heavy damage.

The forecast for Saturday was ominous. The National Weather Service issued tornado watches across parts of Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas. Forecasters warned that large hail and strong wind gusts were possible.

“It does look like a big outbreak again tomorrow,” said Becky Kern, the warning coordination meteorologist in the National Weather Service’s Omaha office. “Maybe slightly farther south.”

Hundreds of houses sustained damage in Omaha on Friday, mostly in the Elkhorn area in the western part of the city, Omaha police Lt. Neal Bonacci said.

“You definitely see the path of the tornado,” Bonacci said, adding that many of the homes were destroyed or severely damaged.

Police and firefighters went door-to-door to help people, going to the “hardest hit area” with a plan to search anywhere someone could be trapped, Omaha Fire Chief Kathy Bossman said.

“We’ll be looking throughout properties in debris piles, we’ll be looking in basements, trying to find any victims and make sure everybody is rescued who needs assistance,” Bossman said.

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