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Office of Governor Pete Ricketts

Panhandle Tornado Relief Update

Media Contacts:

Taylor Gage, 402-471-1970

Eric Maher, 402-471-1974




LINCOLN – Today, the Governor’s Office issued an update regarding state assistance in Bayard and other Panhandle communities impacted by storms Monday night.  Even before the storms hit on Monday night, state agencies began providing support to impacted communities.


Relief efforts conducted by state agencies include:


  • Nebraska Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) flew its Recovery Section Manager to Bayard with the Superintendent of the Nebraska State Patrol (NSP) to meet with the County Emergency Manager and assess damage in the area.
  • The City of Bayard and Morrill County were both declared disaster areas by the Governor, who approved the use of state resources to assist with requests made by impacted communities.  The disaster requests are the first step in the recovery process as it allows government entities to spend money to provide for recovery of public infrastructure.
  • NSP flew over impacted areas to document damage from the air on Tuesday.
  • The Nebraska Department of Roads (NDOR) has been, and will continue, to work on debris clearance in all areas.  NDOR was the only state asset requested in the recovery.  All disasters start at the local level and the state helps when it gets requests for assistance.  While the storms were powerful and produced damage, requests for state assistance have been minimal.
  • The Department of Insurance is sending two representatives to Bayard to assist victims of the storm with insurance questions they may have.  Representatives will be at the City Offices Wednesday the 21st from 5:00–7:00pm and Thursday the 22nd from 9:00am–1:00pm
  • The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is working to replace food lost during electrical outages this past week for people who receive SNAP benefits.  Persons who received SNAP benefits in June before the tornado and storm caused electrical outages must contact DHHS within 10 days, or by June 23. SNAP clients may call ACCESSNebraska at 800-383-4278, or visit a local DHHS office.


Additional efforts have been undertaken by private agencies.  The Red Cross has offered sheltering, feeding, and clothing in Morrill and Sioux Counties.  Local churches have been providing food.  The Red Cross reports that in Morrill County financial assistance was needed for four families and 13 individuals.


Power has been restored in 95 percent of the county.  There are 50 homes that still need electrical power.  The local emergency manager reports that he hopes to have that number down to 30 homes by today.  He reports that 98 percent of woody debris has been cleaned up in the county and home cleanup is at 80 percent.


If local residents are in need of immediate assistance, they should contact the Region 21 Emergency Management Coordinator Ron Leal.  Leal serves as the local director for Cheyenne, Deuel, Garden, Kimball, and Morrill Counties.  His contact information is as follows:


Ronald D. Leal

REG 21 Coordinator, Box 217

Sidney, NE 69162