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Storm System Moves East After Battering Central United States

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[June 05, 2014]  By Mary Wisniewski
 
 CHICAGO (Reuters) - A nasty storm system that has pelted homes and cars with hail up to the size of a baseball in the central Plains and caused flash floods is expected to bring high winds, more hail and possible tornadoes to the Ohio Valley on Wednesday, forecasters said.

Southern Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, southern Ohio, West Virginia and Tennessee are in the path of the storm system, according to Bill Bunting, a forecaster at the National Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma.

"It doesn't appear to be as bad," Bunting said. "I think we'll see reports of damaging winds and large hail and maybe an isolated tornado."

Storms pounded parts of the central United States on Tuesday with reports of baseball-sized hail that smashed homes and cars in Nebraska and high winds that ripped off roofs in Iowa, where the high winds forced suspension of voting in a primary election in some areas.

A dozen people suffered minor injuries after being struck by the outsized hailstones while fleeing for cover at a Walmart store in Blair, Nebraska, north of Omaha, Fire Chief Kent Nicholson said.

Flights were suspended for four hours at Omaha's airport on Tuesday because of the high winds, flash flooding and nickel- to quarter-sized hail, an airport spokesman said.

There were 13 reports of tornadoes in Nebraska, Iowa and Kansas, said AccuWeather.com senior meteorologist Paul Walker.

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Omaha emergency officials helped 17 people escape flooding on Tuesday, though the water has since receded and residents have returned to their homes, according to Omaha Fire Department Battalion Chief Tim McCaw.

(Reporting by Mary Wisniewski; Editing by Will Dunham)

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