Skip to main content

A wary Midwest watches the sky for another day

From Ed Payne and Sean Morris, CNN
updated 7:24 PM EDT, Wed May 29, 2013
  • NEW: Forecasters warn of high winds, hail around Oklahoma City
  • Tornado watches stretch from Texas Panhandle to Nebraska
  • Sporadic warnings issued, but no immediate reports of damage
  • Warm Gulf moisture is fueling the storm system

(CNN) -- Tornado watches stretched from the Texas Panhandle to central Nebraska on Wednesday as another wave of storms put portions of the Plains states and Midwest squarely in the bull's-eye again.

It was the latest round of severe weather to settle over America's heartland as warm moist air from the Gulf of Mexico saturated the area, bringing with it the risk of twisters, large hail and damaging winds.

Though radar indications triggered sporadic warnings for a handful of counties in Texas, Kansas and Nebraska, no tornadoes or damage had been reported by Wednesday evening.

However, a severe thunderstorm warning posted for the Kearney, Nebraska, area said golf ball-sized hail that could damage vehicles, roofs and crops was possible as the storm swept northward. In Macksville, Kansas, about 100 miles west of Wichita, residents reported wind gusts up to 80 mph, the National Weather Service said.

The watches also covered most of western Oklahoma and Oklahoma City and its suburbs. One of those, Moore, was hit May 20 by a top-scale, mile-wide tornado that killed 24 people.

The weather service issued a severe thunderstorm warning for the area Wednesday evening, saying hail and wind gusts up to 70 mph were possible.

The threat covers more than half the country, stretching from the Canadian border to the Gulf coast and from the Eastern Seaboard to the Intermountain West.

This will most likely occur in the form of severe thunderstorms, though the forecast notes there's also a greater probability than usual of large hail, damaging winds and tornadoes.

Opinion: Tornado risk goes beyond the 'Alley'

The powerful storms have been dumping heavy rain across the region, especially on portions of Kansas, Missouri, South Dakota, Illinois and Indiana, where flood warnings were in place, the Weather Service said.

Multiple tornadoes were spotted across Kansas on Tuesday evening. One touched down near the north-central town of Corning, striking six farms, one of which was destroyed, according to Nemaha County emergency manager Todd Swart. But there were no reports of injuries or deaths: "I imagine there are some dead hogs," Swart said.

Justin Strathman saw the twister first-hand, catching the video on his cell phone. "It was amazing," he told CNN affiliate KSHB. "It was scary. I ain't gonna lie."

A tornado's heading your way: Now what?

Later Tuesday, strong winds -- which National Weather Service reports said may have been a tornado, though local police said they were more likely potent straight-line winds -- caused damage near Waterford, Pennsylvania. This northwestern Pennsylvania town is about 15 miles south of Erie.

CNN's Matt Smith, Greg Botelho and Carma Hassan contributed to this report

Part of complete coverage on
Severe weather
updated 9:58 AM EDT, Sat April 26, 2014
Here are 10 facts about one of nature's most powerful forces.
updated 10:46 AM EDT, Wed August 7, 2013
Get a glimpse of the weather events happening around the world by clicking through our photo gallery.
updated 5:57 AM EST, Sat February 9, 2013
In our increasingly digital world, a mobile phone or other portable device is often a one-stop communication device.
updated 7:39 PM EDT, Thu July 3, 2014
Water jugs and batteries are not the only things to consider when extreme weather threatens.
can opener
All you need to know about keeping your food safe to eat and what to have on hand in the event of a weather emergency.
updated 10:53 AM EDT, Thu April 3, 2014
Getting the latest warnings when tornadoes are headed your way and knowing what to do before, during and after one hits are all key to staying safe. A handful of apps can help you stay on top of impending dangerous weather.
updated 11:31 AM EDT, Thu May 30, 2013
You've just that heard a tornado is headed directly toward you. You don't have a safe room, and you're not near a shelter. Do you hunker down and hope for the best or do you flee?
updated 11:31 AM EDT, Sun April 27, 2014
Here are the 10 deadliest tornadoes to touch down in the United States, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration:
updated 7:07 PM EDT, Wed July 17, 2013
Weather experts agree: When lightning strikes, it's best to go indoors.
updated 4:11 PM EDT, Wed April 2, 2014
A tornado is a funnel-shaped cloud that forms under thunderclouds and contains rapidly rotating air.