A rare October tornado devastated buildings at M&M Trailer Sales west of Palmyra and downed electric lines to close Highway 2 Thursday night.
Otoe County Emergency Management received reports of wind damage on G Road west of Palmyra and on the county line northwest of Palmyra on E Road.
Damage is also reported at M&M Trailer Sales on Road 4 near Palmyra.
Palmyra Fire Chief Rex Schroeder was parked on a ridge west of Palmyra not quite two miles from the highway, but said all he could see from the high vantage point was rain and darkness.
When he moved northward to the highway, he could make out a car traveling his way. Then he noticed the power poles leaning on both sides of the roadway and the headlights of the car illuminated the low-hanging power line.
Moments later, a truck and semi-trailer came through. Although the car went under the line, it hit the truck and sent electrical sparks flying. Schroeder said he immediately attempted to stop traffic while the sparks continued.
"It was quite a light show," Schroeder said.
Emergency Management Director Gregg Goebel said the National Weather Service will investigate during daylight Friday, but it appears a tornado touched down out of a slow moving thunderstorm system.
"Doppler radar showed it and it was confirmed by four or five trained spotters who saw it in Lancaster County and followed it into Otoe County," he said early Friday morning.
Syracuse Rescue was called out after a motorist stopped on the highway where the power lines were down complained of a heart attack. Lancaster County rescue was blocked by the power lines, so Syracuse Rescue was dispatched.
The ambulance went north from the scene and took Highway 34 into Lincoln under heavy rain.
Goebel said he is unaware of Otoe County ever experiencing an October tornado before.
He described the thunderstorm cell that produced the tornado as moving very slowly, no faster than 20 mph, as it entered the county.
Storm spotters reported winds of 55 mph northwest of Unadilla and 55 mph in Syracuse.