DES MOINES, Iowa — Homes and cars in parts of Nebraska and Iowa were pummeled Tuesday by baseball-sized hail and damaging winds as potentially dangerous storms targeted a swath of the Midwest, including the Omaha area, where flooding left dozens of drivers stranded and prompted home evacuations.
The National Weather Service said reports of hail damage and flooding had begun to trickle in as storms pushed into Nebraska and continued eastward.
Officials said the highest risk for severe weather was centered in parts of eastern Nebraska, western and southern Iowa, and northeast Missouri. Officials said there was the potential for a weather event called a derecho, which is a storm of strong straight-line winds spanning at least 240 miles.
"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, Okla. "It's unfortunately panning out as we thought it would."
The outbreak of severe thunderstorms has already affected parts of northern and eastern Nebraska, where residents in Norfolk and Blair reported homes and vehicles damaged by large hail. Terry Landsvork, an observation program leader for the National Weather Service in Valley, Neb., said the severe weather was forecast into today.
Landsvork said on Interstate 29 north of Council Bluffs in western Iowa, hail shattered windows in more than 25 vehicles.
In the Omaha, Neb., area, police assisted drivers stranded in floodwaters.