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Fox News Weather Center

Nebraska to Illinois Face Widespread Damaging Storm Risk

A major outbreak of severe weather will ignite across the central Plains Tuesday afternoon with a possible derecho evolving during the overnight hours.

The potential exists for a far-reaching cluster of violent thunderstorms to track from Nebraska to Iowa and northern Illinois Tuesday night through Wednesday morning.

Such an intense cluster may officially be deemed a derecho.

"The origin of this potential strong line of storms will be in western Nebraska where afternoon thunderstorms will congeal into an intense cluster overnight Tuesday and progress through Iowa and into northern Illinois through Wednesday morning," stated AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions Meteorologist Brian Knopick.

"The threats would be extremely heavy rain with flooding, large hail and wind gusts greater than 70 mph."

Such winds could easily down trees, overturn high-profile vehicles, toss around and damage loose lawn furniture and cause some structural damage. Falling trees threaten to cause bodily harm and additional damage to homes and vehicles.

The thunderstorm cluster has the potential to unleash 2 to 4 inches of rain, with locally higher amounts, along its path.

That amount of rain is very likely to trigger flash flooding, as well as cause problems for motorists by unleashing blinding downpours and heightening the risk of vehicles hydroplaning at highway speeds.

However, the rain has a silver lining as it will be beneficial in the long-run to the parts of the central Plains that are in the midst of a drought or have turned abnormally dry.

Tornadoes are also a concern on Tuesday. Knopick states that is especially true across central Nebraska Tuesday afternoon and evening, before the violent thunderstorms cluster together.

Grand Island and Valentine, Nebraska, are among the communities facing the severe weather danger, including tornadoes, Tuesday afternoon. The threat zone also extends to Rapid City, South Dakota.

From late in the day Tuesday through early Wednesday morning, the cluster of violent thunderstorms is expected to track in a general west-to-east fashion across Omaha, Nebraska; Kansas City, Missouri; Des Moines and Davenport, Iowa; and Peoria and Springfield, Illinois.

The northern extent of the thunderstorms will clip Chicagoland early Wednesday morning, bringing the threat for flooding and headaches for the morning commute.

Heavy rain should also graze Detroit as Wednesday progresses and the severe weather shifts to the Ohio Valley states.

Residents of Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Louisville and St. Louis should prepare for powerful thunderstorms that will remain capable of producing damaging winds, flooding downpours, hail and a few tornadoes on Wednesday.