Severe storms possible in Central Plains Wednesday

Reuters News
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Posted: May 02, 2012 4:23 PM
Severe storms possible in Central Plains Wednesday

MINNEAPOLIS (Reuters) - Severe thunderstorms with damaging winds and very large hail could develop over the Central Plains later on Wednesday stretching from eastern Nebraska into western Iowa and southern Minnesota, the National Weather Service said.

Conditions are ripe for three consecutive days of storms in the region. There were reports of tornadoes, large hail and high winds in parts of south-central Minnesota and in northwest Iowa on Tuesday, and more storms are possible on Thursday.

Becky Kern, a weather service meteorologist in Omaha, Nebraska, said there was a small chance for severe weather Wednesday afternoon across northeast Nebraska, "but the main show is going to be after dark."

Damaging wind will be the main hazard, but the potential is there for large hail and heavy rain, Kern said. "Even though the chance is really small for isolated tornadoes, we cannot rule it out."

The weather service's Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma, said the areas where storms could be the strongest were in western Iowa, southwest Minnesota, central and northeastern Nebraska and southeast South Dakota.

Thunderstorms were expected to intensify and increase in coverage by late Wednesday evening and continue spreading east through the overnight hours, it said.

Powerful thunderstorms also were possible in western Wisconsin, AccuWeather.com said. The areas at greatest risk for severe thunderstorms included the metropolitan areas of Omaha, Cedar Rapids and Des Moines in Iowa, Rochester, Minnesota, and La Crosse, Wisconsin, AccuWeather said.

Severe storms also are possible on Wednesday from the Upper Midwest across lower Michigan and northern Ohio, and southeast across Virginia and parts of northeast North Carolina, the center said.

High winds, large hail and heavy rain struck St. Cloud and other Minnesota communities northwest of Minneapolis-St. Paul on Tuesday with reports of two small tornadoes, according to reports compiled by the weather service.

(Reporting by David Bailey; Editing by Greg McCune and Xavier Briand)