Earlier this week, we had some severe weather up in the panhandle of Nebraska. A tornado did touch down in the community of Bayard on Monday night, causing damage to several homes and a nursing home. Fortunately, and most importantly, it appears that nobody was injured. In true Cornhusker fashion, neighbors were out the very next day, checking on each other and lending a hand with cleanup.
Approximately nine miles west of Bayard is the City of Minatare. As the severe weather approached Monday evening, tornado sirens went off, and it was time for folks to take action.
Recently, they City of Minatare worked with the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency to put a storm shelter into the local high school. The project was completed and the shelter provided safety for members of the community for approximately two hours as the sirens went off and about 150 people gathered within the building to await the all clear for safety from local officials.
I was informed that they were having a school board meeting in the safe room when people started to arrive because of the bad weather. The school superintendent, Tim Cody, had the best line, “It was the biggest board meeting we have had in a while.”
What a great job by the folks up there all around: local emergency management officials making sure to monitor the weather and sounding the sirens to provide notice, the school in getting the word out that the shelter was ready to be used, and the citizens in taking quick action to keep safe.
Our Hazard Mitigation Grant Program provided the funds for the safe room, and the state managed and administered the grant to build the safe room, which is another great example of the program making a difference.
Mary Baker, the State Hazard Mitigation Officer in Nebraska summed it up perfectly, “It’s awesome to see a safe room that we helped build protect and save lives. This just shows why hazard mitigation projects are so important to our communities.”