Tuesday morning's hail and heavy rain was the first wave of severe weather expected to hit the Omaha area during the day. 

Final round of storms could be big

The U.S. Storm Prediction Center says southeast Nebraska and southwest Iowa is at risk for severe weather Tuesday afternoon, with storms starting to develop around 1 p.m. and firing around 2 p.m., said Van DeWald, a Valley-based meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

The greatest threat for storms will be around Nebraska City into southwest Iowa, he said. "Omaha is right on the northern edge of some of the stronger stuff," said DeWald, referring to hail, strong winds and possibly tornadoes. It will be "a very active day," he said.

Travelers on Tuesday should pay close attention to forecasts and changing conditions if they will be on the road in the afternoon and evening. That’s particularly true from eastern Nebraska across Iowa into Illinois and south into Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma.

Once storms move out Tuesday night, the region should catch a break from the storm warnings, DeWald said. A slight chance of rainy weather is in the forecast on Wednesday and Thursday, but by Friday, the sun should be shining, and the weekend could be dry.

New flood damage

Record rain fell in south-central Nebraska Sunday night into Monday, and flash flooding in some places was worse than what occurred in March, officials said. The Hastings office of the National Weather Service is the official recording station for weather in that area. By 7 a.m. Monday, 1.86 inches of rain had fallen, breaking the previous record for the date of 1.71 inches set in 2012.

Across south-central Nebraska, 3 to 5 inches of rain fell Sunday and Monday — on already soggy ground.

“That fills up a lot of small river basins that eventually fill up larger ones,” said Julia Berg, meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Hastings. “And we had two shots of rain in about the same location, which exacerbated any flooding.”

Flooding reports in south-central Nebraska

» In Furnas and Harlan Counties, Nebraska, south of Kearney near the Kansas border, emergency managers report that gravel roads that haven’t washed out in decades were washed out by flooding. Roads just repaired from the March floods were damaged again.

» Crystal Lake State Recreation Area, south of Hastings, was evacuated due to flooding on the Little Blue River.


» In the Omaha metro area, flooding led to a temporary closure of the eastbound lanes of the West Dodge Expressway around 4:45 a.m. Monday. The lanes were reopened by 8 a.m. Overnight rainfall at Eppley Airfield totaled 1.24 inches. A reporting station in Florence had 1.14 inches.

» Southwest of Columbus, flooding caused the closure of U.S. Highway 81. At one point, the Polk County emergency manager’s office reported up to 4 feet of water on Highway 81/92 west of Shelby. The emergency manager’s office told the weather service that the flooding was worse than what occurred in March.

Storms hit western Nebraska Monday night before moving on to the eastern side of the state Tuesday morning.

By mid-evening Monday, hail as big as 2.25 inches across was reported in Ogallala by a storm chaser. Ping-pong-ball-sized and larger hail disabled some vehicles on Interstate 80 near Ogallala, according to dispatch reports there.

Rainfall totals

For 24 hours ending at 7 p.m. Monday, in inches:

Aurora 2.78

Blair 1.23

Columbus 2.31

Fremont 1.26

Hastings 3.27

Lincoln 0.77

Bellevue/Offutt 2.04

Omaha, Eppley 1.24

Omaha, Millard 1.18

Plattsmouth 1.60

Valley 1.68

Council Bluffs 1.03

Nancy Gaarder helps cover public safety and weather events as an editor on The World-Herald's breaking news desk. Follow her on Twitter @gaarder. Phone: 402-444-1102.

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