Strong thunderstorms that raked eastern Nebraska and western Iowa dumped heavy rain and, in southwest Omaha, piles of hail that left some motorists temporarily stranded.
Western Nebraska was first to endure the storms Monday night, with hail larger than 2 inches in diameter. The Omaha World-Herald reported dozens of cars pulled off Interstate 80 with broken windshields. About 8,000 Omaha Public Power District customers lost power.
In Council Bluffs, Iowa, a number of streets flooded as more than 2 inches of rain fell there overnight. Flash flood warnings were issued there and for areas around Lincoln and Omaha.
Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds is joining an educational effort this week aimed at ending distracted driving.
Texting and driving is illegal in Iowa, but drivers can use their phones to look up directions and make calls. A bill that would’ve banned all hand-held phone use failed to pass the legislature this year.
But Reynolds says, quote, “that might be the next natural step to take.”
0528reynolds2 :15 “I get the opportunity to be a passenger as we’re traveling up and down I-235 and the number of people that are on their phones—it’s really scary, and so I think the statistics are proving out we probably need to take look at that and that makes a lot of sense.”
Sergeant Nathan Ludwig with the Iowa State Patrol says it would be easier to enforce a ban on all hand-held devices while driving.