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Polk County Natural Disasters and Weather Extremes

 
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The chance of earthquake damage in Polk County is about the same as Nebraska average and is much lower than the national average. The risk of tornado damage in Polk County is much higher than Nebraska average and is much higher than the national average.

Topics:Earthquake IndexVolcano IndexTornado IndexOther Weather Extremes EventsVolcanos NearbyHistorical Earthquake EventsHistorical Tornado Events

Earthquake Index, #55

Polk County
0.01
Nebraska
0.04
U.S.
1.81

The earthquake index value is calculated based on historical earthquake events data using USA.com algorithms. It is an indicator of the earthquake level in a region. A higher earthquake index value means a higher chance of an earthquake.

Volcano Index, #1

Polk County
0.0000
Nebraska
0.0000
U.S.
0.0023

The volcano index value is calculated based on the currently known volcanoes using USA.com algorithms. It is an indicator of the possibility of a region being affected by a possible volcano eruption. A higher volcano index value means a higher chance of being affected.

Tornado Index, #10

Polk County
286.57
Nebraska
205.07
U.S.
136.45

The tornado index value is calculated based on historical tornado events data using USA.com algorithms. It is an indicator of the tornado level in a region. A higher tornado index value means a higher chance of tornado events.

Other Weather Extremes Events

A total of 14,005 other weather extremes events within 50 miles of Polk County were recorded from 1950 to 2010. The following is a break down of these events:

TypeCountTypeCountTypeCountTypeCountTypeCount
Avalanche:0Blizzard:56Cold:100Dense Fog:9Drought:15
Dust Storm:2Flood:743Hail:7,548Heat:27Heavy Snow:63
High Surf:0Hurricane:0Ice Storm:34Landslide:0Strong Wind:116
Thunderstorm Winds:4,611Tropical Storm:0Wildfire:0Winter Storm:211Winter Weather:69
Other:401 

Volcanos Nearby

No volcano is found in or near Polk County.

Historical Earthquake Events

No historical earthquake events that had recorded magnitudes of 3.5 or above found in or near Polk County.

No historical earthquake events found in or near Polk County.

Historical Tornado Events

A total of 95 historical tornado events that had recorded magnitude of 2 or above found in or near Polk County.

Distance (miles)DateMagnitudeStart Lat/LogEnd Lat/LogLengthWidthFatalitiesInjuriesProperty DamageCrop DamageAffected County
1.61992-06-15241°10'N / 97°35'W2.00 Miles150 Yards00250K0Polk
3.41968-07-30241°10'N / 97°39'W41°07'N / 97°32'W6.40 Miles200 Yards02250K0Polk
5.71962-07-21341°06'N / 97°47'W41°24'N / 97°30'W25.20 Miles880 Yards01250K0Polk
8.01964-05-05541°03'N / 97°34'W41°21'N / 97°16'W25.80 Miles880 Yards0025K0Polk
9.02001-10-09341°05'N / 97°50'W41°15'N / 97°39'W16.00 Miles1500 Yards001.8M800KPolk
 Brief Description: A strong tornado entered Polk County from Hamilton County. A powerful upper level low pressure system plowing into an unstable airmass triggered widespread severe weather across south-central Nebraska during the late afternoon and evening hours. As many as nine tornadoes were confirmed and many reports of hail were received. The tornado damage was confined to an area located north and east of Grand Island, which included Merrick, Nance, Polk, Greeley, and Hamilton counties. The tornadoes got going west of Marquette. One twister set down in Hamilton county and crossed the Platte River southeast of Chapman. Damage to outbuildings was of most significance. Other tornadoes were reported in the Marquette area, with one tornado on the ground for 12 miles from south of Marquette to southeast of Hordville. This tornado was rated an F1 and produced minor structural damage to buildings and grain bins at several farms. Power lines were lost and several trees were blown over. Numerous center pivot irrigation systems were damaged. Just before 6 pm CDT, the most damaging tornado of the day developed near the Polk and Hamilton county line, and proceeded northeast across western Polk county, leaving a path of destruction in its wake. Storm chaser reports indicated this tornado frequently became multi-vortex in nature and produced a wide swath of damage. Three miles north of Polk, a home was completely ripped from its foundation and blown into some nearby trees. The tornado was rated an F3 at this point. Along its 18 mile path, the tornado damaged over 20 center pivots, and nearly every farmstead in the path of the tornado sustained damage to the home, outbuildings, machinery or grain bins. This tornado lifted southwest of Silver Creek. Just prior to the F3 tornado in Polk county, an F2 tornado was ripping up a farmstead in northern Merrick county. This tornado was responsible for tearing the roof from a home, destroying two large metal outbuildings and damage to a half-dozen vehicles. The tornado moved north and destroyed a barn on the Nance and Merrick county line, but narrowly missed the home. Window and siding damage was noted at the home. Later that evening, one final tornado was reported. This tornado moved from south of Silver Creek to northeast of Silver Creek just before sunset. The tornado clipped the southeast side of town, resulting in damage to the post office, several cars, trees, and 13 residences in town. Fortunately, most of the damage was minor.
10.41975-06-15341°21'N / 97°57'W40°45'N / 97°02'W63.20 Miles200 Yards00250K0Nance
14.72006-09-15241°06'N / 97°19'W41°07'N / 97°18'W1.00 Mile100 Yards0000Butler
 Brief Description: A tornado did extensive tree damage and some structual damage throughout the town of Surprise including destroying a mobile home and tearing the roof off of a bar. The tornado was embedded in a larger downburst area that did damage over a 28 square mile area surrounding Surprise according a NWS storm survey. The tornado was rated an F2 in Surprise, where it initially touched down, and then weakened and lifted a few minutes later 1 mile northeast of town.
15.71990-03-13441°02'N / 97°22'W41°02'N / 97°20'W4.00 Miles440 Yards0025.0M0Seward
17.81964-05-05540°51'N / 97°50'W41°03'N / 97°34'W19.40 Miles880 Yards2302.5M0York
20.41990-03-13441°02'N / 97°20'W41°26'N / 97°02'W30.00 Miles440 Yards0025.0M0Butler
21.61957-06-21340°54'N / 97°28'W40°54'N / 97°21'W5.40 Miles33 Yards00250K0York
21.71990-03-13440°43'N / 97°42'W41°02'N / 97°22'W23.00 Miles440 Yards0225.0M0York
22.31954-07-30240°52'N / 97°37'W1.50 Miles880 Yards0025K0York
22.92001-10-09241°15'N / 98°00'W41°17'N / 98°00'W3.00 Miles350 Yards00300K25KMerrick
 Brief Description: Tornado crossed from Merrick County into Nance County. A powerful upper level low pressure system plowing into an unstable airmass triggered widespread severe weather across south-central Nebraska during the late afternoon and evening hours. As many as nine tornadoes were confirmed and many reports of hail were received. The tornado damage was confined to an area located north and east of Grand Island, which included Merrick, Nance, Polk, Greeley, and Hamilton counties. The tornadoes got going west of Marquette. One twister set down in Hamilton county and crossed the Platte River southeast of Chapman. Damage to outbuildings was of most significance. Other tornadoes were reported in the Marquette area, with one tornado on the ground for 12 miles from south of Marquette to southeast of Hordville. This tornado was rated an F1 and produced minor structural damage to buildings and grain bins at several farms. Power lines were lost and several trees were blown over. Numerous center pivot irrigation systems were damaged. Just before 6 pm CDT, the most damaging tornado of the day developed near the Polk and Hamilton county line, and proceeded northeast across western Polk county, leaving a path of destruction in its wake. Storm chaser reports indicated this tornado frequently became multi-vortex in nature and produced a wide swath of damage. Three miles north of Polk, a home was completely ripped from its foundation and blown into some nearby trees. The tornado was rated an F3 at this point. Along its 18 mile path, the tornado damaged over 20 center pivots, and nearly every farmstead in the path of the tornado sustained damage to the home, outbuildings, machinery or grain bins. This tornado lifted southwest of Silver Creek. Just prior to the F3 tornado in Polk county, an F2 tornado was ripping up a farmstead in northern Merrick county. This tornado was responsible for tearing the roof from a home, destroying two large metal outbuildings and damage to a half-dozen vehicles. The tornado moved north and destroyed a barn on the Nance and Merrick county line, but narrowly missed the home. Window and siding damage was noted at the home. Later that evening, one final tornado was reported. This tornado moved from south of Silver Creek to northeast of Silver Creek just before sunset. The tornado clipped the southeast side of town, resulting in damage to the post office, several cars, trees, and 13 residences in town. Fortunately, most of the damage was minor.
24.41985-05-10240°53'N / 97°20'W0.50 Mile400 Yards042.5M0Seward
24.51968-07-30240°50'N / 97°35'W40°50'N / 97°32'W0025K0York
24.61952-08-13341°28'N / 97°17'W41°26'N / 97°13'W3.30 Miles1300 Yards000K0Colfax
25.11982-05-26241°00'N / 97°59'W0.80 Mile30 Yards00250K0Hamilton
26.31992-06-15240°54'N / 97°54'W0.10 Mile30 Yards002.5M0Hamilton
26.81967-06-13241°59'N / 97°23'W41°05'N / 97°17'W62.30 Miles33 Yards00250K0Stanton
27.91998-06-23241°29'N / 97°18'W41°33'N / 97°13'W6.00 Miles1760 Yards0174.0M500KPlatte
 Brief Description: Two farm houses destroyed. Six farm houses severely damaged. One house blown off foundation. Bar destroyed. Center pivots overturned. Severe crop damage.
30.42008-05-29240°51'N / 98°02'W40°52'N / 97°53'W8.00 Miles1000 Yards0020K100KHamilton
 Brief Description: EVENT NARRATIVE: This tornado started southwest of Aurora and moved southeast. The parent supercell had produced a rear flank downdraft (RFD) that was traveling down Interstate 80. As the tornado interacted with this RFD about a mile north of the Interstate, it rapidly increased in size and strength and started to move eastward. At this point the tornado damaged several homes and brought down a self standing cell tower. One home along Highway 14 sustained considerable damage. The tornado then moved to the northeast and dissipated just southwest of the village of Hampton. To the west of Hampton, several empty rail cars were blown off the tracks by what appeared to be inflow winds into the tornado. A major high voltage power line was brought down by the tornado as well as many power lines and poles in the rural areas. Also many center pivot irrigation systems were blown over along the tornadoes path. EPISODE NARRATIVE: A significant severe weather outbreak occurred during the late afternoon and evening of May 29th. Several tornadoes were reported from near Elwood to north of York. Two tornadoes caused damage in the city of Kearney and one occurred just to the south of town. Another tornado damaged homes and power poles near Aurora. Another tornado started in north-central Kansas and entered south-central Nebraska near Hubbell. Very strong winds moved down a portion of Interstate 80 and pushed cars and trucks off of the roadway near Aurora. Other areas of south-central Nebraska received heavy rains and hail. Hail to the size of baseballs was reported near Arapahoe in Furnas County. These storms also produce a lot of rainfall over areas that had fairly wet ground. Several areas of flooding were noted in the Platte and Republican River valleys.
31.51965-05-08241°25'N / 97°21'W41°44'N / 97°09'W24.00 Miles33 Yards000K0Platte
31.61967-06-13240°48'N / 98°10'W41°00'N / 97°55'W18.80 Miles33 Yards000K0Hamilton
31.61957-06-15240°47'N / 97°14'W40°56'N / 97°04'W13.20 Miles33 Yards0025K0Seward
31.61991-05-16240°48'N / 97°13'W40°58'N / 97°01'W11.00 Miles100 Yards00250K0Seward
32.11953-06-07241°21'N / 97°04'W41°25'N / 96°57'W6.90 Miles33 Yards02250K0Butler
32.91970-06-10241°17'N / 96°57'W0025K0Butler
33.71990-03-13441°26'N / 97°02'W41°27'N / 97°00'W4.00 Miles440 Yards0025.0M0Colfax
33.71990-03-13341°06'N / 98°14'W41°11'N / 98°12'W6.00 Miles200 Yards002.5M0Merrick
34.32001-06-13440°51'N / 97°05'W40°57'N / 96°59'W8.00 Miles400 Yards021.0M0Seward
 Brief Description: A slow moving tornado tracked from south of Seward to just east of town with a total track length of 8 miles. The tornado was caught on film by several chasers. The tornado destroyed an entire farmstead and a propane and anhydrous ammonia tank farm and machine shed. Several vehicles were tumbled and tossed into a field across from the farm house. The tornado was at its maximum intensity at the farmstead it destroyed. Northeast of highway 34 the tornado struck several sheds and barns.
34.61964-05-23240°50'N / 97°13'W40°46'N / 97°05'W7.90 Miles60 Yards00250K0Seward
35.31982-05-10241°13'N / 98°15'W0.30 Mile20 Yards00250K0Merrick
35.41998-05-15240°40'N / 97°34'W40°41'N / 97°34'W4.00 Miles100 Yards00750K150KFillmore
 Brief Description: Midday thunderstorms spawned a tornado south of York damaging a farmstead significantly. The tornado set down two miles north of Fairmont and was on the ground for seven miles before lifting just east of McCool Junction. The tornado nearly destroyed at least one farmstead and caused damage to power poles and lines and center pivot systems. A semi tractor trailer was overturned three miles southeast of York. The driver sustained minor injuries. The same storm also produced a brief tornado south of Benedict destroying two hog confinement facilities but no hogs were injured.
36.12009-06-17240°52'N / 98°10'W40°52'N / 98°04'W5.00 Miles450 Yards00250K75KHamilton
 Brief Description: EVENT NARRATIVE: A large tornado touched down west of Aurora on Highway 34, then traveled east approximately 5 miles before lifting. In its path, it destroyed a house and several outbuildings, power poles, trees, and overturned about a dozen railcars. The occupants were able to seek shelter before the tornado struck. Numerous storm chasers documented this storm. EPISODE NARRATIVE: Early on in the afternoon, a few scattered thunderstorms developed across eastern portions of South Central Nebraska, with one severe thunderstorm across Thayer County, where quarter to baseball size hail was reported. The main show came later during the early evening hours, after a surface warm front had moved north into the area. Near the front, good instability and shear was present, as was moisture. Scattered thunderstorms developed along the edge of the mid level cap near the surface front, and with the environment present, some became strong to severe. The main storm of the day developed in Buffalo County, then moved east across Hall and Hamilton Counties. In each of these counties, this storm produced a tornado, with the largest occurring in Hamilton County, along Highway 34 near the town of Aurora. This tornado caused EF2 damage to a home in its path, before dissipating a few miles west of Aurora. Other damage caused by this storm included downed power poles and derailed train cars, as well as roof damage to the Iams plant caused by strong inflow winds. Weaker tornadoes were reported on the south side of Grand Island in Hall County, as well as north of Gibbon in Buffalo County, where EF1 damage occurred at a few farmsteads. Penny to tennis ball size hail was also reported across the area, causing damage to crops, with one report of broken house windows in Valley County.
36.61990-03-13241°17'N / 98°20'W41°25'N / 98°09'W11.00 Miles100 Yards002.5M0Nance
36.91990-03-13440°38'N / 97°50'W40°43'N / 97°42'W15.00 Miles440 Yards0025.0M0Fillmore
37.31999-05-02241°05'N / 98°19'W41°10'N / 98°15'W5.00 Miles100 Yards00250K0Howard
 Brief Description: As strong low pressure lifted across Nebraska and Kansas, a series of damaging tornadoes ripped across south-central Nebraska during the late afternoon and evening hours. No less than 10 tornadoes were confirmed across an area from west of Arapahoe to north of Grand Island near St. Libory. Tornado damage began around mid-afternoon near Holbrook. A brief tornado did some damage to a farmstead northwest of town. Another tornado set down in southern Gosper county and damaged or destroyed at least 3 irrigation center pivots. Tornadoes touched down near Ragan and west of Wilcox. Eventually, another twister near Macon hit two farms. With debris flying through the air, one man stood on his front porch as the tornado passed. Outbuildings, center pivots, and grain bins were heavily damaged by this tornado. Just after 6 pm, the first of three tornadoes in Adams county took aim on the region west of Kenesaw. Shortly thereafter, another tornado set down southeast of Kenesaw and moved northeast. One farm sustained damage southeast of Kenesaw as irrigation pipe littered the fields along the twister's path. Both tornadoes were on the ground at the same time. A third tornado set down west of Juniata but did no damage before lifting. Around 7 pm, a short lived tornado was observed just northwest of Wood River. This tornado destroyed grain bins, damaged a grain dryer and pulled shingles from a house nearby. Strong winds in the region also downed power lines and poles south of town. Finally, just after 8 pm, the final tornado of the evening set down in extreme western Merrick county and moved north just inside the Howard county line. This F2, multiple vortex tornado was on the ground for about 5 miles and damaged or destroyed numerous outbuildings and trees along its path.
37.71964-05-05241°23'N / 98°15'W41°55'N / 97°40'W47.50 Miles33 Yards0025K0Nance
38.01990-03-13341°02'N / 98°20'W41°06'N / 98°14'W4.00 Miles200 Yards002.5M0Howard
38.11953-05-09340°46'N / 97°09'W40°46'N / 97°03'W4.70 Miles880 Yards022.5M0Seward
38.31990-03-13241°15'N / 98°16'W41°17'N / 98°20'W2.00 Miles100 Yards002.5M0Merrick
38.41992-06-15340°44'N / 97°07'W40°46'N / 97°07'W2.00 Miles500 Yards002.5M0Seward
38.51978-05-30240°37'N / 97°27'W40°40'N / 97°24'W3.80 Miles30 Yards00250K0Fillmore
38.81957-04-25440°35'N / 97°34'W40°42'N / 97°14'W19.10 Miles33 Yards002.5M0Fillmore
39.11954-05-30441°44'N / 97°44'W41°45'N / 97°43'W002.5M0Platte
39.21992-06-15340°46'N / 96°57'W40°58'N / 96°57'W14.00 Miles500 Yards0125.0M0Seward
39.61957-04-25440°42'N / 97°14'W40°49'N / 96°54'W19.00 Miles333 Yards182.5M0Seward
39.81977-05-04341°36'N / 97°08'W41°43'N / 97°07'W7.60 Miles200 Yards00250K0Colfax
40.11998-06-23241°36'N / 97°04'W41°36'N / 96°59'W2.70 Miles1000 Yards0000Colfax
 Brief Description: Debris on highway.
40.51957-05-20240°41'N / 97°15'W40°50'N / 96°50'W23.90 Miles33 Yards0025K0Saline
40.61964-05-05540°36'N / 98°16'W40°51'N / 97°50'W28.40 Miles880 Yards0025K0Clay
40.91982-05-20241°34'N / 97°04'W41°37'N / 96°55'W5.00 Miles30 Yards003K0Colfax
41.01984-04-25241°46'N / 97°45'W0.50 Mile3 Yards0125K0Madison
41.21959-08-30240°55'N / 96°52'W4.00 Miles33 Yards0025K0Lancaster
41.61953-06-07240°47'N / 98°10'W40°52'N / 98°15'W6.60 Miles33 Yards0025K0Hamilton
41.81957-05-20240°46'N / 98°22'W40°58'N / 98°08'W18.20 Miles33 Yards000K0Hall
42.01952-08-13341°21'N / 97°10'W41°15'N / 96°23'W41.10 Miles1300 Yards010K0Butler
42.51980-06-03240°54'N / 98°17'W40°54'N / 98°18'W0182.5M0Hall
42.51964-05-06241°19'N / 96°48'W41°21'N / 96°45'W2.30 Miles33 Yards0025K0Saunders
42.71982-06-14240°44'N / 98°16'W40°51'N / 98°08'W10.00 Miles30 Yards002.5M0Hamilton
43.31964-05-05241°07'N / 98°33'W41°23'N / 98°15'W24.00 Miles33 Yards0725K0Howard
43.51980-06-03440°55'N / 98°18'W40°55'N / 98°21'W3110250.0M0Hall
43.71980-06-03240°54'N / 98°18'W40°51'N / 98°18'W3.40 Miles33 Yards000K0Hall
43.81980-06-03340°58'N / 98°21'W40°56'N / 98°21'W2.30 Miles500 Yards14025.0M0Hall
43.91992-06-15340°29'N / 97°20'W40°44'N / 97°07'W19.00 Miles500 Yards002.5M0Saline
44.01980-06-03440°54'N / 98°21'W40°54'N / 98°18'W000K0Hall
44.11980-06-03340°56'N / 98°21'W40°55'N / 98°20'W000K0Hall
44.21980-06-03240°51'N / 98°18'W40°51'N / 98°17'W000K0Hall
44.21964-05-05441°24'N / 98°23'W41°33'N / 98°17'W11.30 Miles33 Yards01125K0Greeley
44.91984-06-11341°02'N / 98°28'W41°05'N / 98°22'W7.00 Miles200 Yards002.5M0Howard
44.91980-06-03440°55'N / 98°21'W40°54'N / 98°21'W1.10 Miles33 Yards000K0Hall
45.21969-06-25241°45'N / 97°46'W41°56'N / 97°27'W20.50 Miles33 Yards0025K0Madison
45.31965-05-08440°52'N / 98°36'W41°33'N / 98°17'W49.90 Miles33 Yards0025.0M0Hall
45.41966-05-22241°07'N / 96°48'W41°10'N / 96°36'W10.60 Miles33 Yards010K0Saunders
45.41980-06-03341°01'N / 98°24'W40°55'N / 98°23'W6.40 Miles700 Yards1252.5M0Hall
45.61953-06-07341°42'N / 98°01'W41°49'N / 98°01'W8.00 Miles250 Yards01250K0Boone
45.71982-05-10241°13'N / 98°27'W0.30 Mile20 Yards0025K0Howard
46.01982-05-20241°37'N / 96°55'W41°37'N / 96°52'W2.00 Miles30 Yards003K0Dodge
46.01972-07-20241°51'N / 97°40'W0.30 Mile10 Yards003K0Madison
46.01990-03-13340°53'N / 98°28'W41°02'N / 98°20'W17.00 Miles200 Yards002.5M0Hall
46.01963-04-28241°35'N / 97°01'W41°40'N / 96°47'W13.10 Miles300 Yards0025K0Colfax
46.21984-04-25341°11'N / 98°30'W41°16'N / 98°25'W8.00 Miles40 Yards01825.0M0Howard
46.41981-04-03240°52'N / 96°52'W40°53'N / 96°42'W8.30 Miles50 Yards00250K0Lancaster
46.41967-06-13240°42'N / 98°59'W41°13'N / 97°50'W69.70 Miles33 Yards000K0Buffalo
46.91967-06-13241°45'N / 97°47'W41°59'N / 97°23'W26.00 Miles33 Yards01250K0Madison
46.91954-05-30441°45'N / 97°43'W41°59'N / 97°22'W24.00 Miles167 Yards6232.5M0Madison
46.91966-06-05241°42'N / 98°10'W0.70 Mile33 Yards010K0Boone
47.21957-04-25340°22'N / 97°57'W40°39'N / 97°24'W34.70 Miles220 Yards00250K0Clay
47.41953-05-09340°18'N / 97°27'W40°46'N / 97°09'W35.70 Miles880 Yards002.5M0Fillmore
48.81990-03-13340°21'N / 97°37'W40°37'N / 97°24'W23.00 Miles180 Yards002.5M0Fillmore
49.01977-05-19240°49'N / 98°36'W40°58'N / 98°15'W20.80 Miles50 Yards00250K0Hall
49.11956-06-06240°44'N / 96°53'W40°42'N / 96°51'W1.30 Miles33 Yards013K0Lancaster
49.21965-05-08441°33'N / 98°17'W41°55'N / 98°05'W27.20 Miles33 Yards45325.0M0Boone
49.31991-06-04241°54'N / 97°33'W41°54'N / 97°28'W3.00 Miles100 Yards00250K0Madison


* The information on this page is based on the global volcano database, the U.S. earthquake database of 1638-1985, and the U.S. Tornado and Weather Extremes database of 1950-2010.


 
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