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Massive cattle losses in Panhandle blizzard Tell North Platte what you think

Damage from a weekend snowstorm is extensive in the Nebraska Panhandle, Gov. Dave Heineman said Monday.

Chadron City Manager Wayne Anderson said Sunday that it looked to him like more than 90 percent of the city's properties were damaged by the massive, wind-whipped snowstorm that began Friday.

Heavy debris will have to be cleaned up, caused by downed trees and power lines. There was heavy tree damage along the Highway 20 corridor from Rushville to Harrison, especially in the communities of Chadron and Crawford, according to the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency.

The National Weather Service says Chadron got about 10 inches of snow.

The storm dumped up to 40 inches of snow in South Dakota. Parts of Rapid City was without electricity for nearly three days.

Additionally, there are initial reports throughout the area from local ranchers of heavy cattle loss due to the freezing conditions of the severe storm, which combined strong northwest winds with heavy wet snow.

There are no confirmed numbers on cattle loss at this point.

The Nebraska Department of Agriculture and the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality are working with NEMA on this situation, Heineman’s spokeswoman Jen Rae Wang said.

The Department of Agriculture is asking Nebraska producers who suffered livestock losses to keep detailed records of those losses, as they begin to assess the damage from the weekend.

Lt. Gov. Heidemann and Nebraska Emergency Management Agency Assistant Director Al Berndt and will be traveling to the state’s panhandle region Tuesday to continue work with local officials on recovery issues.

“I have asked the Lt. Governor to be on the ground in the Chadron area to see damage first-hand,” Heineman said. “Nebraska Emergency Management Agency and other state agencies are working diligently to assess the situation and support local efforts. My thoughts are with the Nebraska families affected by the severe storms we have recently experienced throughout the state.”

Heidemann and Berndt will start in Chadron.

Heineman has issued an emergency declaration that encompasses the tornadoes and severe storms that have caused broad damage throughout the state.

Heineman looked at tornado damage in Wayne on Saturday.

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The North Platte Bulletin - Published 10/7/2013
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