WAYNE, Nebraska (KCAU) — According to the National Weather Service, at approximately 5:12 p.m. the tornado touched down east of Wayne with an estimated wind speed of 170 miles per hour.
On October 4th, 2013 Karma Schulte, with the Wayne Municipal Airport, left Wayne, Nebraska while noticing dark and eerie clouds in the sky.
“My boss called me and he said a tornado just hit the airport, and I said okay I’ll turn around and I’ll be back. and he said no whatever you do don’t turn around come back, we don’t know where it’s headed, he said keep going,” said Schulte.
While Schulte never saw the category 4 tornado Don Hypse, with Grossenburg Implement Inc. was about to leave work around 5 p.m. after a power outage. However, something told him to stick around.
“All of us that were in the front part of the building just kinda scrabbled and took shelter, there was three of us in the men’s restroom, three more in the women’s restroom, and three in the janitors closet, and then a bunch of other people throughout the building,” said Hypse.
Once the dust settled both the airport and Grossenburg officials assessed the damage.
“Everything was broke, all the windows were broke, the office addition was completely gone there was no walls, no ceiling, no anything, the equipment in the front lot was all destroyed pretty much totaled,” said Hypse.
“We lost all the buildings other than that one set of t-hangers, we had 24 aircrafts on the field at the time 11 had major damage and they were just some were rolled up in balls out on the grass runway and there were airplanes just stacked on top of each other,” said Schulte.
After millions of dollars in damage were done, Grossenburg and the Wayne Airport Immediately started to salvage what they could and set up a temporary location to work from. With help from Wayne and surrounding communities, both were able to recover quickly.
“Approximately within a year everything was pretty much rebuilt and up and going,” said Schulte.
“The community was great and the community was very lucky that it hit out here east of town, if it had been a quarter of a mile farther west it would’ve went through the college, the hospital, the nursing home. So as a community, I feel lucky that it just hit here and hit our building and didn’t hit the rest of the town,” said Hypse.
More than 20 tornadoes spawned from the system on October 4th and impacted dozens of communities from Wayne, to Macy, to Moville. However, while there were 15 people injured, no deaths were reported during the outbreak.