Storms that dropped large hail and buckets of rain in Omaha spin up tornados in Iowa

storms that dropped large hail and buckets of rain in omaha spin up tornados in iowa

An early-morning storm knock tree branches onto the Pacific Street sign on 42nd Street in Omaha, Neb. on Tuesday, May 21, 2024. (Chris Machian /Omaha World-Herald via AP)

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Storms that pummeled much of Nebraska with torrential rain, high winds and large hail spun up fierce tornados Tuesday that took down several 250-foot (76 meters) wind turbines in Iowa.

Des Moines, Iowa, television station KCCI-TV showed at least three wind turbines that were toppled by an apparent tornado in southwest Iowa, and at least one was in flames with black smoke pluming from the bent structure.

Other images posted on social media showed extensive damage in Greenfield, a town of about 2,000 around 55 miles (88.51 kilometers) southwest of Des Moines.

storms that dropped large hail and buckets of rain in omaha spin up tornados in iowa

Heavy machinery clears debris washed out by flooding from nearby construction sites in Omaha, Neb. on Tuesday, May 21, 2024. (Chris Machian /Omaha World-Herald via AP)

In far southwestern Iowa, video posted to social media showed a tornado just northwest of Red Oak. Further east and north, the National Weather Service issued multiple tornado warnings for areas near the towns of Griswold, Corning, Fontanelle and Guthrie Center, among others.

Iowa was already braced for severe weather after the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center gave most of the state a high chance of seeing severe thunderstorms with the potential for strong tornadoes. Des Moines public schools ended classes two hours early and canceled all evening activities ahead of the storms.

storms that dropped large hail and buckets of rain in omaha spin up tornados in iowa

This image provided by JJ Unger, shows hail surrounding a vehicle, Monday night, May 20, 2024, in Yuma, Colo. Residents in the small city in northeastern Colorado were cleaning up Tuesday after hail the size of baseballs and golf balls pounded the community, with heavy construction equipment and snow shovels being used to clear hail that had piled up knee-deep the night before. (JJ Unger via AP)

Earlier in the day, residents to the west in Omaha, Nebraska, awoke to weather sirens blaring and widespread power outages as torrential rain, high winds and large hail pummeled the area.

More than 10,000 customers lost power in and around Omaha early Tuesday, and the deluge of more than 5 inches (12.7 centimeters) of rain in less than two hours in some areas saw basements flooded and cars submerged in low-lying areas. That downpour, combined with rain earlier in the nighttime hours, brought the total to 8 inches (20.23 centimeters) in the region, according to the National Weather Service.

Television station KETV showed video of several vehicles overtaken by rushing water on a low-lying street in north-central Omaha and firefighters arriving to rescue people inside.

While officials had not confirmed tornadoes in the area, there were confirmed reports of hurricane-force winds, said weather service meteorologist Becky Kern.

storms that dropped large hail and buckets of rain in omaha spin up tornados in iowa

A police officer and an employee of nearby Dingman's Collision Center push a car that had been caught in flood waters in Omaha, Neb. on Tuesday, May 21, 2024 (Chris Machian /Omaha World-Herald via AP)

“We have a 90 mph (145 kph) gust measured at Columbus," Kern said. Columbus is about 87 miles (140 kilometers) west of Omaha.

storms that dropped large hail and buckets of rain in omaha spin up tornados in iowa

This image taken from video provided by JJ Unger, shows hail damage to a window of vehicle, Monday night, May 20, 2024, in Yuma, Colo. Residents in the small city in northeastern Colorado were cleaning up Tuesday after hail the size of baseballs and golf balls pounded the community, with heavy construction equipment and snow shovels being used to clear hail that had piled up knee-deep the night before. (JJ Unger via AP)

The storms follow days of extreme weather that have ravaged much of the middle section of the country. Strong winds, large hail and tornadoes swept parts of Oklahoma and Kansas late Sunday, damaging homes and injuring two in Oklahoma.

Another round of storms Monday night raked Colorado and western Nebraska and saw the city of Yuma, Colorado, blanketed in hail the size of baseballs and golf balls, turning streets into rivers of water and ice. Residents cleaned up Tuesday using heavy construction equipment and snow shovels to clear ice that had piled up knee-deep.

storms that dropped large hail and buckets of rain in omaha spin up tornados in iowa

This image provided by JJ Unger, shows hail damage to the window of vehicle, Monday night, May 20, 2024, in Yuma, Colo. Residents in the small city in northeastern Colorado were cleaning up Tuesday after hail the size of baseballs and golf balls pounded the community, with heavy construction equipment and snow shovels being used to clear hail that had piled up knee-deep the night before. (JJ Unger via AP)

The storm in Yuma shattered vehicle windshields, pounded the siding off buildings and broke many windows. lt also brought heavy rain to the city of about 3,500 people about 40 miles (64 kilometers) west of Nebraska, stranding some cars in the streets. The hail was still about a half-foot deep (1.83 meters deep) on Tuesday morning and front-end loaders were used to move it, said Curtis Glenn, a trustee at Yuma Methodist Church, which had flooding and hail damage.

storms that dropped large hail and buckets of rain in omaha spin up tornados in iowa

Workers clean out shattered glass at the Wells Fargo building as clean up from the previous week's storm continues in downtown Houston, Monday, May 20, 2024. The city closed off streets in a six-block exclusion zone downtown, from McKinney to Polk and from Smith to Travis to ease traffic around the area where broken glass and debris are prevalent. (Brett Coomer/Houston Chronicle via AP)

Glenn, an insurance claims adjuster, said the combined sounds of the hail, rain and wind sounded like “a gun going off while you’re on a train.”

“It’s not something you ever want to see or ever want to see again,” he said of the storm, the worst he has seen in his years working in the insurance industry.

Last week, deadly storms hit the Houston area in Texas, killing at least seven. Those storms Thursday knocked out power to hundreds of thousands for days, leaving those Texans in the dark and without air conditioning during hot and humid weather. Hurricane-force winds reduced businesses and other structures to debris and shattered glass in downtown skyscrapers.

storms that dropped large hail and buckets of rain in omaha spin up tornados in iowa

Water pours out of a parking lot onto the ground in Omaha, Neb. on Tuesday, May 21, 2024. (Chris Machian /Omaha World-Herald via AP)

Tuesday's storms were expected to bring much of the same high winds, heavy rain and large hail to Minnesota, Illinois and part of northern Missouri, said Bob Oravec, lead forecaster with the National Weather Service.

He said the system is expected to turn south on Wednesday, bring more severe weather to parts of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and southern Missouri.

—-

Associated Press writer Colleen Slevin in Denver contributed to this report.

Scott Mcfetridge And Margery A. Beck, The Associated Press

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