Severe weather threatens more than half the country

Photo provided by MGN Online
Wednesday, May 29, 2013 - 7:00am

The Midwest is squarely in the bull's-eye again Wednesday for strong tornadoes, large hail and damaging winds.

It's the latest round of severe weather to settle over America's heartland as warm Gulf moisture saturates the area.

The powerful storms have been dumping heavy rain across the region, especially on portions of Kansas, Missouri, South Dakota, Illinois and Indiana, where flood warnings were in place, the National Weather Service said.

Multiple tornadoes touched down across Kansas on Tuesday evening.

At least one tornado touched down in north-central Kansas, damaging some homes and power lines in the rural area, the National Weather Service reported.

Six farms in and around Corning, Kansas, were struck, one of which was completely destroyed, according to Nemaha County emergency manager Todd Swart. There were no reports of injuries or deaths.

"I imagine there are some dead hogs," Swart said.

Justin Strathman saw the twister first-hand, catching the video on his cell phone.

"It was amazing," he told CNN affiliate KSHB. "It was scary. I ain't gonna lie."

Later Tuesday, strong winds -- which National Weather Service reports said may have been a tornado, though local police said they were more likely the result of potent straight-line winds -- caused damage near Waterford, Pennsylvania. This northwestern Pennsylvania town is about 15 miles south of Erie.

The storms came a day after straight-line winds of up to 80 mph whipped the Springfield, Illinois, area. A microburst spawned by a severe thunderstorm damaged about 70 trailers.

"The damage occurred from debris. Tree limbs at a height of 10 to 20 feet were broken and they damaged the roofs of the mobile homes," said David Butt, director of the Sangamon County Office of Emergency Management. "No roofs were torn off. No roofs were peeled back. The only damage to roofs was being penetrated by wind-blown debris."

One person suffered a minor laceration in the process, Butt said.

The weather service's Storm Prediction Center forecasts a wide area of potentially severe weather. Areas most likely to see such conditions include large chunks of Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri and the northwestern corner of Arkansas.

The threat covers more than half the country, stretching from the Canadian border to the Gulf coast and from the Eastern Seaboard to the Intermountain West.

This will most likely occur in the form of severe thunderstorms, though the forecast notes there's also a greater probability than usual of "large hail, damaging winds and tornadoes."

CNN's Greg Botelho and Carma Hassan contributed to this report

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