Strong Thunderstorms Slamming Midwest

The National Weather Service warned residents of the Midwest that a powerful line of severe thunderstorms is moving across the region, threatening heavy rainfall, high gusting winds and the potential for tornado activity. The NWS said that there is a high chance of potentially severe weather outbreaks for much of the the Midwest this week. The thunderstorms began Monday in Nebraska, South Dakota and northern Kansas, and then moved eastward to a wider area on Tuesday.

Hail the size of baseballs fell in parts of Nebraska and Iowa Tuesday, causing extensive damage to homes, businesses and vehicles. Very dramatic rescue scenes played out in Omaha Tuesday as rescuers plucked people from their flooded homes where water was filling basements. Some boat rescues took place including one that helped an elderly, wheelchair bound woman escape her flooded home. One car dealership in Omaha reported that numerous vehicles on its lot were damaged by large hailstones.

The severe weather pushing its way across the mid section of the United States is heading toward St. Louis and Chicago. People ahead of the severe weather are being warned to be prepared to take shelter from the high winds that can send dangerous items airborne and from the possible tornado activity that may be triggered.

Flooding rainfall caused water to rise rapidly in the streets of Council Bluffs, Iowa Tuesday. The damage there as well as in other parts of the state prompted Iowa’s governor to issue a disaster proclamation for Pottawattamie County, allowing for the use of state resources to respond to the storm damage.

Winds of 90 miles per hour ripped the roofs off two hotels in Harrison County, Iowa just east of the Nebraska-Iowa border. An airfield in Omaha was shut down Tuesday after two feet of water flooded the entrances. Baseball-sized hailstones left extensive damage in Norfolk, Iowa where many homes, businesses and vehicles had glass shattered.

The Storm Prediction Center (SPC) only issues “high risk” outlooks a few times each year. Tuesday evening was one of those times as a high risk outlook was issued for much of the state of Iowa. The SPC says there is a high probability that the area will receive severe weather in the form of heavy rainfall which could trigger flooding, severe thunderstorms with winds in excess of 70 miles per hour and the chance of tornado activity.

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