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Storms Could Bring Tornadoes, Grapefruit-Sized Hail to the Plains

Powerful tornadoes and hail are forecast for the Great Plains on Tuesday, with the most dangerous of the weather aimed at a 70,000-square-mile stretch from southern Oklahoma to southern Nebraska.

Damaging wind gusts and three to four inch-diameter hail — up to the size of a grapefruit — are expected, with the biggest threat eyeing southern Nebraska and northern Kansas, according to NBC meteorologist Dylan Dreyer. Strong tornadoes could also whip up chaos.

Storms have been pummeling Plains states since Sunday with large hail and a few reports of tornadoes.


Heavy Rain, flooding, weather
Justin Sullivan | Getty Images

By Tuesday, more than 36 million Americans faced a severe storm threat, from the Rio Grande River in south Texas to Omaha, Nebraska, and western Missouri. Severe thunderstorm watches are in effect for parts of northern Kansas, southern Nebraska and western Missouri, including Kansas City, into the early afternoon, according to Weather.com.

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Thunderstorms will begin by mid- to late- afternoon in parts of the Plains, including southern Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, and north-central and central Texas. As evening approaches, they'll spread into western Missouri and Arkansas, Weather.com said.

Isolated severe thunderstorms are also possible Tuesday afternoon in parts of the Ohio Valley into the Mid-Atlantic states.

Hail up to 2 inches wide was already reported early Tuesday in north-central Kansas, Weather.com said.

More storms will follow on Wednesday, from the Missouri Valley to the mid-Mississippi Valley.

"But today is really our biggest threat of those strong storms," Dreyer said.