National News

Multiple states under tornado watch as severe weather continues

todayMay 21, 2024

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ABC News

(NEW YORK) — Millions of people in multiple states from the Great Plains to the Midwest were under the threat of tornadoes Tuesday afternoon, including Iowa where several twisters had touched down near Des Moines and authorities were asking residents to seek shelter.

The National Weather Service issued tornado watches for parts of Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota, Missouri, Arkansas, Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, Kansas and Oklahoma through Tuesday night.

Nearly the entire state of Iowa was under a “Particularly Dangerous Situation,” according to the National Weather Service, which issued several tornado warnings near Des Moines.

A line of powerful storms was moving in the direction of Des Moines and had already produced multiple tornadoes Tuesday afternoon, according to the weather service.

There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

Several videos obtained by ABC affiliate station WOI in Des Moines captured a large funnel cloud on the ground in Greenfield about 63 miles southwest of Des Moines.

The NWS tornado watch covers eight counties in Iowa and 23 in Nebraska, including Lincoln and Omaha.

Damaging winds of 70 to 90 mph are also being forecast for Des Moines, Chicago and Milwaukee from Tuesday afternoon and into the evening.

Des Moines, a city of more than 200,000 people, is expected to get a triple dose of bad weather with large hail, high winds and tornadoes converging in the area.

Severe weather is in full swing across the Great Plains and the Midwest, with more than 100 severe storms reported Monday from Colorado to Michigan.

At least three tornadoes were reported on Monday in Minnesota, Nebraska and Colorado, but caused no significant damage.

In Yuma, in northeast Colorado, hail ranging from golf ball to softball size pummeled the area, causing damage to cars and buildings. At one point, the hail was so deep it caused multiple vehicles to get stuck, JJ Unger, a volunteer Yuma firefighter, told ABC News Tuesday.

“It was like a blizzard hitting for a half hour because of the hail,” Unger said. “That’s the longest I’ve seen it hail like that.”

Unger said he and his fire crew were out spotting for possible tornadoes Monday evening when lightning struck and hail began to pour.

“It was very intense,” said Unger, adding that he and his crew had to pull over and seek shelter as visibility went to almost zero.

Unger said that when the hail finally let up, a foot of hail was covering his fire engine and roads in the area.

He said the windshields of his pickup truck and his wife’s vehicle were shattered.

“Almost every home in town has broken windows and I’ve heard that over a thousand cars were damaged,” Unger said.

In Nebraska, hail measuring two inches in diameter fell in Dundy County in the southwest corner of the state, according to local emergency management officials. Winds of over 90 mph were also reported in Dundy County.

As severe weather is expected through Thursday across the Great Plains and Midwest, potential record heat is moving into Texas and the Northeast.

Temperatures could flirt with 90 degrees in Philadelphia, New York City and Washington, D.C., by the middle of this week.

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