Rare December weather causes high winds, thunderstorms, snow and blackouts in Hall County | Local news from the Big Island

He believes Wednesday’s rain moistened things enough to prevent prolonged fires.

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Wednesday’s 85 mph winds not only damaged the historic sign at Grand Island Pioneer Park, but also caused a large branch to rupture and briefly block part of Second Street.

Independent / McKenna Lamoree

Scattered areas, including Hastings, received hail up to a diameter of one millimeter, Hastings meteorologist Aaron Mangels said.

Grand Island received 0.15 inches of moisture late Wednesday, Mangels said.

Instead of Christmas, it was starting to look a lot like tornadoes in central Nebraska. Wednesday afternoon’s tornado warnings prompted many people to head for basements and seek refuge elsewhere.

The National Weather Service won’t know until Thursday whether a tornado has officially hit the area. But the office had reports of tornadoes, which described potential landings in Polk County and Aurora, Beda said.

Other reports came from Franklin and Adams counties, Mangels said.

Temperatures reached 69 in Grand Island and 68 in Hastings, two records for December 15.

Mangels said the odd weather in December was caused by a strong depression passing through the region. The hot, humid air in front of him provided the ingredients for thunderstorms and tornadoes.

Rosenlund reminded the public that sirens in Hall County are activated not just for tornado warnings. They’re also triggered by winds over 75 to 80 mph, racquetball-sized hail, and outdoor chemical releases, he said.