Storms have been kicking up in the region, are likely to continue into the evening and could be damaging.
Areas under a severe thunderstorm watch include the Omaha-Council Bluffs metropolitan area and Lincoln. Pea-sized hail had already fallen in several Omaha neighborhoods by late afternoon.
The greatest threats from these storms are large hail and strong winds, according to the National Weather Service. It's possible that an isolated tornado or two could develop.
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Conditions are such that hail stones as large as 2.5 inches in diameter are possible, the weather service said. (Anything over 1 inch is considered damaging.)
Winds could reach 70 mph.
Pockets of heavy rain are likely where thunderstorms occur.
The peak period for storms is 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.
The area at highest risk is southeast Nebraska, southwest Iowa and portions of neighboring Kansas and Missouri.
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Issued when conditions are favorable for damaging storms to develop. These watches typically cover a large area and are in effect for several hours. If a watch is issued, people should think about what they’ll do if a dangerous storm suddenly develops. For example, if you have outdoor plans, have an idea where you’ll go for shelter.
This is serious. It means that National Weather Service radar or a storm spotter has detected or seen a powerful storm. These types of storms are capable of causing serious damage, either from hail that is larger than an inch or winds that are in excess of 58 mph. These are targeted to just the area in the storm’s path, unlike a watch, which covers many counties. If you are outdoors and in the path of the storm, seek shelter or try to pull off the road to avoid driving in the storm. These storms can generate tornadoes with little warning.
Conditions are favorable for tornadoes to develop. Watches are issued for large areas and generally for a long period of time. Sometimes watches cover portions of several states and can last for hours. Have a plan for what you’ll do if a tornado suddenly develops. More serious is a tornado warning.
Head for shelter! Tornado warnings are issued when radar has detected rotation in a cloud or a storm spotter has seen a tornado. Take cover immediately if a warning is issued for your area. Even though you may not see the tornado, it could be there, hidden in rain, or it could drop from the sky above you without warning. Warnings typically last about 30 minutes. Local sirens will sound when warnings are issued. But keep in mind that some sirens could be disabled by the tornado, so you may not hear one.
A violent swirling column of air that stretches from a cloud to the ground, with winds in excess of 65 mph. Winds with a tornado can reach 300 mph or more. If you are watching a tornado and can’t tell what direction it is traveling in, then it is traveling toward you.
A swirling column of air that extends downward from a cloud but doesn’t reach the ground.
Hail must be 1-inch wide to be considered damaging. Keep in mind that wind direction often determines which side of a building or car is damaged.
A tornado that isn’t spawned by a powerful storm cell and typically stretches to the ground from a towering, but less threatening cloud. A waterspout occurs over water.