By The Associated Press
Massive thunderstorms began moving into the Midwest on Wednesday. Meteorologists warn that the line of storms could launch a weather event called a derecho, which is a straight-line wind storm spanning at least 240 miles. Here's a snapshot of what is happening, state by state:
National Weather Service authorities are reporting several small tornadoes and quarter-sized hail as severe weather moves across northern Illinois. Severe storms were hitting the Rockford area and moving east. Winnebago County emergency officials reported several small tornadoes briefly touched down. Meanwhile, airlines canceled more than 120 flights at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. And Wednesday night's White Sox game was postponed, along with Northwestern University classes and finals scheduled on its Chicago and Evanston campuses. Game 1 of the National Hockey League's Stanley Cup series was to be played at the United Center. Chicago authorities also were mobilizing crews to deal with possible downed power lines and toppled trees. Power outages: About 39,000 in northern Illinois.
Several northern Indiana counties remain under severe weather warnings as a line of powerful thunderstorms rumbled into the state. The strongest part of the huge storm spanned from Gary to Plymouth to Fort Wayne. National Weather Service officials said golf-ball-sized hail damaged cars in Winamac, midway between Lafayette and South Bend. About a dozen flights have been canceled at Indianapolis International Airport, most of them in and out of Chicago. Power outages: About 34,000 in northwest Indiana.
National Weather Service officials say multiple tornadoes touched down in northern Iowa. They say spotters reported at least two tornadoes on the ground alongside one another near Hampton in Franklin County. Another tornado was reported near Belmond in nearby Wright County. A business owner in Belmond said a tornado demolished the south side of his building, but no one was in the restaurant when the twister hit. His wife and an employee took shelter in a basement. Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management officials say at least two businesses and a home were completely destroyed, but no reports of injuries or deaths. Power outages: About 2,700 in northern Iowa, near Mason City.
MICHIGAN The National Weather Service in Grand Rapids has issued a severe thunderstorm and flash flood watches for parts of southwest Michigan and counties near the Indiana state line. Officials say 1 to 3 inches of rain could be dumped on parts of southwest Michigan within a couple of hours.
A storm dumped heavy rain to parts of southern Minnesota Wednesday morning, including nearly 3.25 inches at Hutchinson airfield, 3.3 inches in Arlington, 2.83 inches in Carver and 2.28 inches near Green Isle. Madison, in far western Minnesota, recorded a wind gust of 65 mph. No significant damage was reported. Hail estimated at 1.75 inches fell near Wells and Freeborn in southern Minnesota. A tornado watch remained was effect for Fillmore, Houston and Mower counties in southeastern Minnesota until 9 p.m.
The entire state of Pennsylvania remains under a flood watch for high waters overnight and through the day Thursday. National Weather Service officials say the greatest risk of flooding is in the northern portion of the state, while the worst thunderstorms are expected in southern areas. Officials say a standby worker was added at the emergency operations center in Harrisburg and officials had ensured two National Guard helicopters were ready if needed for water rescues. Parks events, concerts and a downtown farmers' market on Thursday were among canceled events. Also, the U.S. Golf Association said it will close the Rose Tree Park in Media for the remainder of the 113th U.S. Open Championship at Merion Golf Club in suburban Philadelphia. Spectators will be directed to alternative parking at Granite Run Mall.
A partial roof collapse at a Wal-Mart in Lake Delton left two employees with minor injuries as heavy rain and high winds spread across southern Wisconsin, downing trees and knocking out power. Tornado warnings were issued for several southwestern Wisconsin counties. National Weather Service officials said winds estimated at 60 mph blew through Columbia County in south-central Wisconsin. A wind gust estimated at 60 mph also was reported in Richland County's Port Andrew. Street flooding was reported in parts of the village of Boscobel in Grant County.