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    18 June 2009

    Dangerous Storms Zooming Across Plains, Southeast

    Waves of thunderstorms are creating very dangerous thunderstorms this morning across both the Plains and the Southeast, and will continue to do so throughout the day today. Storms today are likely to slam the major cities of the Upper Midwest with large hail, strong winds and tornadoes.

    Severe Thunderstorm Watches are in effect in northern Nebraska, eastern Minnesota and eastern Iowa, including Valentine, Neb., the southern suburbs of the Twin Cities, and Davenport, Iowa.

    Another Severe Thunderstorm Watch is in place across southern South Carolina and eastern Georgia, including Aiken, S.C., and Savannah, Ga.

    Today, the most powerful storms will be found across the Upper Mississippi Valley into the western Great Lakes. Here, temperatures in the 80s and 90s and plenty of water-laden air will help to fuel these storms` development, and upper-level winds are contributing enough twist to spawn tornadoes. In addition to the threat of twisters, large hail to the size of softballs will be common, and strong winds to 75 mph can be expected.

    The strongest storms will be found across the major corridors of the Upper Midwest from Minnesota and Iowa to western Indiana, including in the Minneapolis, Milwaukee, and Chicago areas. However, the powerful storms will be possible east of the Dakotas and Nebraska into the Ohio Valley. This includes such cities as Lincoln and Omaha, Neb., St. Louis, Springfield, Ill., and Indianapolis, Ind.

    Further east, another round of strong to severe thunderstorms will plow through the Ohio Valley, Mid-Atlantic and Southeast as an area of low pressure slides eastward toward the Eastern Seaboard. Here, large hail to the size of baseballs and strong, gusty winds will be found.

    Residents in and around many of the major cities of the Mid-Atlantic and Ohio Valley, including Cincinnati, Louisville, Charleston, W.Va., Baltimore, Washington, Richmond, Va., Raleigh and Charlotte, N.C., and Charleston, S.C., should keep an eye to the sky for these powerful storms this afternoon and evening.

    These storms are all due to a wavering front stretched across the south-central Plains eastward into Mississippi Valley and into the Southeast. Waves of storms have been forming each afternoon all week from the Plains to the Ohio Valley, becoming very powerful thanks to the strong June sunshine and a strong current of warm, water-laden Gulf of Mexico air streaming into the East.

    On Wednesday, nearly two dozen unconfirmed tornadoes were reported including one near Austin, Minn., causing damage, and another that moved just north of Gibbon, Neb. A storm near Odell, Neb., produced baseball sized hail that was reported to have broken windshields on nearby storm spotters` cars. A wind gust to 80 mph was recorded in Fritch, Texas, with 75 mph gusts near Richmond, Mo. A storm in Naper, Neb., blew alfalfa wind rows away, and an 18-wheeler was blown over near Amarillo, Texas.

    In addition to the storms, heavy rain and the threat of flash flooding will also be present across both the Upper Midwest and in New England as the water laden air is squeezed out. Some areas may see as much as 2 inches of rain over the course of the day, which on top of rain already produced this week could cause localized flash flooding. If you come across water in the road, do not attempt to cross it as it is likely deeper than it appears. Flash Flood Watches and Warnings are in place in southeastern Ohio, southwestern Pennsylvania, northeastern West Virginia, western Maryland, southwestern Virginia, and northeastern Tennessee.

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