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Severe Storms Strike Plains, Middle Mississippi Valley

UPDATED 9:45 PM CDT, May 4, 2012

UPDATED By WeatherBug Meteorologist, Fred Allen

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Powerful storms are rolling across Texas, as well as from Nebraska into eastern Iowa tonight. The storms have a long, destructive history, including large hail, damaging wind gusts and even a few tornadoes common in the most intense thunderstorms.

Severe Thunderstorm Watches remain in place from central Nebraska to far western Iowa, including Valentine, Omaha and Lincoln, Neb.

A cold front stretching from New York`s Hudson Valley all the way to eastern Nebraska is dividing warm, moist air from drier, cooler air in place over the Great Lakes and Midwest. The clash of the two is providing the spark for potent thunderstorms rolling throughout the southern and east-central Plains, as well as across the Middle Mississippi Valley.

Dangerous thunderstorms continue to roll across eastern and central Nebraska, with a few more likely to expand along the Interstate 80 corridor in western Iowa tonight. These storms have a history of very large, destructive hail and damaging wind gusts.

The biggest concern will be damaging wind gusts up to 70 mph, though very large hail up to baseball size and a tornado cannot be discounted. In addition to the severe weather, the storms will trigger flooding downpours and intense lightning as seen on Earth Networks Total Lightning Network.

Not to be outdone, a disturbance at high altitudes in the atmosphere is pushing across Oklahoma. As it moves deeper into the southern Plains, it is teaming up with a dry line separating warm, moist air from cool, dry air swooshing east off the Rocky Front Range. The end result is huge thunderstorms expanding toward the Interstate 35 corridor from the Texas Red River Valley into west-central Texas. The storms will continue to roll throughout the Texas Plains for the start of the weekend.

A Severe Thunderstorm Watch remains in place from west-central Texas into south-central Oklahoma, including Abilene and San Angelo, Texas.

Dallas, Waco, and Denton, Texas, and Ardmore, Okla., will all need to be on high alert for these nasty thunderstorms overnight. Large hail up to golf ball size and destructive wind gusts reaching 70 mph will be common.

Following Thursday`s 221 reports of severe weather from Texas to Maryland has been another busy day of severe thunderstorms to conclude the workweek. In total, there have been 128 reports, including 14 unconfirmed tornadoes, 44 high wind reports and 70 large hail reports. An apparent tornado caused structural damage to a barn roof and destroyed one outbuilding, as well as downed power lines and trees near Kiester, Minn. Vehicles and homes were damaged by baseball size hail in Grandfield, Texas, with widespread tree and some structure damage being reported in Spencer, Iowa.

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