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The edge of a storm approaches Norfolk, Neb. on Tuesday, June 3, 2014. / Jake Wragge, AP

Storms packing hail and heavy rains moved across Nebraska and Iowa late Tuesday, causing wind damage and flooding as violent spring weather threatened much of the Midwest.

The National Weather Service said several tornadoes were reported in Nebraska along with hail, in some cases as large as baseballs, and driving rain.

Forecasters warned of a major severe weather outbreak overnight in the central Plains, with large hail, howling winds and tornadoes all possible.

The Storm Prediction Center placed parts of eastern Nebraska and most of southern Iowa in a high risk area for severe thunderstorms.

Pictures posted on social media showed cars in high water as heavy rain hit Council Bluffs, Iowa, and Omaha. There were also images of buildings collapsed, trees down and cars damaged by high winds north of Omaha.

Terry Landsvork of the National Weather Service in Valley, Nebraska, said heavy rains caused flooding in and around Omaha.

"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. "These thunderstorms ... keep moving right over the same areas."

In Norfolk and Blair, Neb., there were reports of homes and vehicles damaged by large hail, some as big as baseballs. Landsvork said more than 25 vehicles had their windows shattered by hail on Interstate 29 north of Council Bluffs, on the western edge of Iowa bordering Nebraska.

"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.

Winds of up to 85 mph were also reported in some parts of Iowa. Up to 4 inches of rain was expected.

An intense cluster of thunderstorms -- known as a derecho -- is expected to move through Nebraska to Iowa, northeastern Kansas, northern Missouri, and western Illinois in the overnight hours, according to AccuWeather meteorologist Kevin Byrne.

"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."

Contributing: William M. Welch in Los Angeles; Associated Press



Copyright 2014 USATODAY.com

Read the original story: Hail hits Nebraska as Plains braces for severe storms

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