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Tornadoes rip through Midwest injuring 3

JACKSON, Nebraska (CNN) -- Residents and authorities were cleaning up Saturday from a series of tornadoes that swept through the Midwest Friday evening, flattening homes, downing trees and forcing the evacuation of several neighborhoods.

Authorities helped residents leave the small town of Jackson, Nebraska, about 85 miles north of Omaha, after a tornado tore through around 6 p.m. (7 p.m. ET). It was not clear when they would be allowed to return.

"At this point we're making assessments on the safety of various buildings and structures so we can determine when we can allow the residents back in," said Capt. David Winkler of the Nebraska State Patrol.

The tornado did heavy damage to the small town -- which has a population of 300 -- destroying 10 homes, several businesses and Jackson Public School, an elementary school, said Winkler.

Two children and one woman were injured, he said. The children suffered minor injuries and the woman was hospitalized with injuries that were not life-threatening.

The Red Cross opened a shelter at a school in South Sioux City, but most of Jackson's residents had found places to stay with family and friends, Winkler said.

Vickie Murphy, the assistant manager of the Sweet Tooth Drive-In in Jackson, said the twister hit parts of the town hard.

A dining hall at a Dairy Queen on the drive-in's property was crushed by a flying roof, she said, but nobody was inside at the time.

"We have somebody else's roof on top of us," she said.

The band of storms caused major damage to a farm in Sioux County, Iowa, about 40 miles northeast of Jackson, said Loren Wilken, dispatcher for the county sheriff. Nobody was injured.

"The tornado was very wide, had a lot of debris in it," he said.

A mother and her two daughters at the farm took refuge in their basement as the twister leveled several buildings on the property, he said.

"Farm equipment inside the buildings was damaged, as well as equipment located at other areas of the yard," Wilken said. "A large tree on the east side of the house was knocked down."

Further south, in Woodbury County, Iowa, a sheriff's deputy cited six tornadoes -- two of which touched down -- within four hours.

Dave Kjos (chos), a senior deputy with the Woodbury County Sheriff's Office, said there were no injuries or structural damage in the county.

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