Could a devastating tornado strike Lincoln? - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE;

Could a devastating tornado strike Lincoln?

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By: Bill Schammert

Two dozen dead, including nine children, hundreds more injured.  They're the statistics nobody likes to hear.  But, as University of Nebraska-Lincoln climatologist, Dr. Ken Dewey, tells us, this tornado is eerily similar to what happened in Lancaster Co., in 2004.

"The catastrophic damage we saw in Hallam, we also saw in Moore," Dr. Dewey said.  "It's the same type of tornado in terms of size and intensity."

Both tornados approached the two-mile wide figure, both tornados were in the EF-4 to EF-5 classification range.  The difference, Moore, Okla., has seen three of these in the last four years and has a population of about 56,000.  Hallam only has a couple hundred people.

"Less than one-percent of all tornados are of that magnitude," Dr. Dewey said.  "The fact they've had three of those tornados go through that one location, that's just bad luck, there's no physical reason for it."

And Dr. Dewey says Lincoln needs to be on the lookout.

A monster tornado roared through Lincoln in 1957, crossing several spots including 27th and Superior, an area that was just farmland back then.  Just imagine the devastation that would leave today.

"We become complacent and think it can't happen in Lincoln, but it can.  It's only a matter of time."

As for the myth that Lincoln is immune to tornados because the city sits in a deep bowl...

"That's the silliest thing I've ever heard," Dr. Dewey said.

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