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Storms hit Midwest, 'dangerous evening' forecast

Raw: Hail and Dust Storms Hit Nebraska


By BARBARA RODRIGUEZ

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Homes and cars in parts of Nebraska and Iowa were pummeled Tuesday by baseball-sized hail and damaging winds as potentially dangerous storms targeted a swath of the Midwest, including the Omaha area, where flooding left dozens of drivers stranded and prompted home evacuations.

The National Weather Service said reports of extensive hail damage and flooding had trickled in as storms pushed into Nebraska and moved into neighboring Iowa, where winds of up to 85 mph were recorded. Up to 4 inches of rain was expected in parts of Nebraska and Iowa.

"This is one of these days we can't let our guard down," said Bill Bunting, forecast operations chief at the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma. "It's unfortunately panning out as we thought it would. This is shaping up as a very dangerous evening."

Officials said the highest risk for severe weather was centered in parts of eastern Nebraska, western and southern Iowa, and northeast Missouri. Officials said there was the potential for a weather event called a derecho, which is a storm of strong straight-line winds spanning at least 240 miles.

Terry Landsvork, an observation program leader for the National Weather Service in Valley, Nebraska, said heavy rain and flooding was reported in the Omaha area.

"The storms, we call it training. It's like a train going down the track. One car goes by, another one follows. That's what's happening," he said, in reference to eastern Nebraska and western Iowa. "These thunderstorms ... keep moving right over the same areas."

In the northeast Nebraska cities of Norfolk and Blair, residents reported shattered windows in homes and vehicles after baseball-size hail passed through. At least one severe thunderstorm capable of producing a tornado was reported near the city of Fullerton. Another was reported in the western Iowa community of Elliott.

On Interstate 29 north of Council Bluffs in western Iowa, more than 25 vehicles had their windows shattered by hail, Landsvork said.

"They were driving along Interstate 29, had no place to go, and whether they were driving or pulled over, they just didn't escape the hail," he said.

The storms, which are also expected to affect parts of Illinois, Kansas and South Dakota, caused heavy rain in the Omaha area. Police spokesman James Shade said dozens of residents were evacuated from low-lying homes on the northeast side of the city, where several inches of rain fell in an hour.

"It's just completely flooded these areas, and these homes are now filling up with water in their basement areas, so we're pulling people out," he said, noting a 95-year-old woman in a wheelchair who was rescued.

Police also used boats to assist dozens of drivers stranded in floodwaters around the city. Shade said many cars remain stuck on those flooded streets.

The bad weather impacted primary elections taking place in Iowa and South Dakota. Officials in Pottawattamie and Montgomery counties in Iowa, where polls closed at 9 p.m. CDT, reported closing some precincts temporarily due to poor weather.

"It's nasty here. You can't imagine," said Pottawattamie County Auditor Mary Jo Drake. "It's as black as the ace of spades."

In South Dakota, where polls closed at 8 p.m. CDT, a morning thunderstorm forced Senate candidate Mike Rounds, who was flying to Rapid City, to land in Pierre.

The severe weather threat arrives amid an unusually quiet late spring, with far fewer documented tornados in May than in many recent years. Bunting said the current system could be most severe because of widespread straight-line winds.

"As we like to say, it doesn't have to rotate to be dangerous," he said.

Join the discussion

1000|Char. 1000  Char.
Calspike June 04 2014 at 12:47 AM

THAT'S NOT BASEBALL SIZED HAIL

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7 replies
Buckingham's June 04 2014 at 2:07 AM

To everyone in the midwest: stay safe! God bless.........

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hanlon1212 June 04 2014 at 12:50 AM

This is GOD telling the red states to wise up.

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12 replies
GREG June 04 2014 at 7:13 AM

golf ball maybe

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1 reply
Lauren GREG June 04 2014 at 8:16 AM

Yeah thats what they said on the emergency broadcast on the tv it was the size of golfballs

Flag Reply +2 rate up
angelo65 June 04 2014 at 9:13 AM

I've always heard people in the midwest have gigantic hands...

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1 reply
bemolee angelo65 June 04 2014 at 6:06 PM

thats not all we have that is big

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kitcumbie June 04 2014 at 10:17 AM

Obviously God is demonstrating his wrath at the misogyny bigotry and homophobia of the midwest. Take heed sinners.

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10 replies
heydemocratssuck June 04 2014 at 9:25 AM

Those are golf ball size, NOT baseball size. I swear, the media exaggerates and sensationalizes everything!

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1 reply
ppnoshow heydemocratssuck June 04 2014 at 4:30 PM

I hate to burst your bubble, but I live in Omaha, NE., and the photo's that are coming in are larger than baseballs. The biggest one measured 4.5". What they showed in the picture was the "Average" size of the hail we got yesterday. Woodhouse Ford in Blair had 4300 vehicles damaged from all of the "Baseball" size hail causing millions and millions in damage. If you don't believe me, then check it out yourself. You can also check out our local news stations, KETV.com, WOWT.com or KMTV.com. Just because they show one picture doesn't mean they are lying about it. Get your facts straight before you make a stupid comment. We went thru hell yesterday !!! Go Ahead...I dare you to check.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
debnaert June 04 2014 at 8:53 AM

Thank GOD it went just south of us....

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2 replies
busterggi debnaert June 04 2014 at 11:24 AM

Praise the Lord for beating the crap out of the people just south of you.

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1 reply
diobuca busterggi June 04 2014 at 12:03 PM

I love it....lol.

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dj446688 debnaert June 04 2014 at 3:54 PM

So god likes you but not the people just south of you? I thought this god you speak of is "all loving"?

Flag Reply 0 rate up
1 reply
ppnoshow dj446688 June 04 2014 at 4:33 PM

We had at least 5 "Major" storms one right after another, so yes...we thanked God that it went south of us. We HAD OUR FILL last night !

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quisp13 June 04 2014 at 10:37 AM

really? You're complaining about the size of the hail being exagerated? Bigger than a golf ball smaller than a baseball, Have you considered that maybe it melted somewhat by the time the photo was taken. I hardly think anyone is going to go oiut while baseball size hail is still falling just to get one and take a picture. So it may have been baseball but by the time it stopped and a person ventured out to get a sample it had melted off some of its size.
Either way, golf ball or baseball, they are both pretty serious and would lnot like either of them falling on me.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
1 reply
ppnoshow quisp13 June 04 2014 at 4:38 PM

They did not melt...there are more pictures of the baseball size hail. One picture is bigger than a baseball. I should know, I live there.

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lovemywine022 June 04 2014 at 12:32 PM

Will surely keep you all in many prayers.. I'm in Pa and we got hit pretty bad couple weeks ago with the hail and stuff alot of people I know have damage to their homes but many have a total loss of their vehicles.. Many are having to use rentals until they can get a replacement car. There have been many claims the insurance companies were here from all over for like a week or so..

Flag Reply +1 rate up
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