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Tornadoes, baseball-sized hail wreak havoc as severe storms hit Great Plains


Tornadoes were reported on Kansas and Nebraska on the evening of May 2, 2018, as a round of severe weather hit the Plains. The severe storms caused damage to homes and buildings, but no injuries were reported. Chasers spotted several large tornadoes tracking across the rural areas of the Plains.

Tornado alley was experiencing a drought of spring tornadoes until May 1, when eighteen tornadoes were reported in the area.

In north-central Kansas, one home was destroyed by an EF3 tornado near the town of Minneapolis. It was the third EF3 tornado in the US this year, and was in progress for 23.3 km (14.5 miles), according to the National Weather Service. 

A large tornado also passed near the town of Bennington; the worst damage came during a house fire that officials blamed on a lightning strike. Bennington schools opened on time at May 2, according to KWCH.com.

Minor damage was reported in the town of Doniphan after a confirmed EF0 twister passed through the area roughly 241 km (150 miles) away from Omaha, according to the Grand Island and Hall County Emergency Management Agency.

In Cloud County, Kansas, an EF1 tornado was confirmed near Glasgo after it damaged farms and downed trees. Another reported tornado tracked near Marquette, but no damage was reported.

A semi truck was jackknifed on a highway as strong winds whipped through Wilson, Kansas, roughly 124 km (200 miles) from Topeka, on May 1, according to the NWS. Officials shut down the eastbound lanes of the highway, according to the Kansas Highway Patrol.

Outbuildings in Shelby, Iowa, were destroyed or badly damaged by strong winds on May 1, the NWS reported. A pole barn was collapsed and grain bins were also damaged.

In Oklahoma, NWS officials are trying to determine if a tornado was in progress near Buffalo, not far from the Kansas state line. If confirmed, the twister would be the first in Oklahoma in 2018.

Severe storm also brought hail in isolated areas in Kansas and southeastern Nebraska, some of them a size of a baseball.

"Conditions in the central Plains, with plenty of heating and turning winds, will continue to produce severe weather through at least Thursday," said TWC meteorologist Jonathan Belles.

On May 3, a widespread threat of severe thunderstorms, including a few tornadoes, is in play. This time not just in the Plains and Midwest, but also spreading into the Northeast. 

NOAA's Storm Prediction Center has issued the following watch areas: A severe thunderstorm watch is in effect for parts of north and central Texas until 19:00 UTC (2 p.m. CDT). This includes Dallas, Ft. Worth and Waco. A severe thunderstorm watch is also in effect for parts of southern Oklahoma and extreme north Texas until 16:00 UTC (11 a.m. CDT.)

Sotrm radar, Great Plains, May 3, 2018

Image credit: The Weather Channel

Earlier in the morning of May 3, trees and power lines were downed in Webb City, Missouri, damaging several vehicles. A lumber yard in the town of Edna, Kansas, suffered some structural damage and a roof of a carport was ripped off in South Coffeyville, Oklahoma.

Severe Thunderstorm Forecast for May 3 – 4:

Clusters of severe thunderstorms will fire up from parts of the Missouri and Mississippi Valleys southwestward through the Ozarks to northern and central Texas.

At least some severe storms will also spread through parts of the Great Lakes, Ohio Valley, and Northeast.

Threats: Damaging wind gusts, hail and perhaps a few tornadoes are possible. Tornadoes are possible from parts of southern Iowa into Missouri, eastern Kansas, eastern Oklahoma and western Arkansas.

severe storms forecast on great plains may 3 - 4, 2018

Image credit: The Weather Channel

A few strong storms are possible again on May 4, once the frontal system finally sweeps into the Northeast and Ohio Valley but still hangs back over parts of Texas.

Featured image: A supercell on the border of Kansas and Oklahoma on Tuesday, May 1, 2018. (Twitter/@mwxhitaker)

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