Video: Midwest slammed

updated 5/30/2008 10:34:31 AM ET 2008-05-30T14:34:31

More severe storms, likely bearing tornadoes and large hail, were forecast for the Plains and Midwest on Friday, less than a day after Nebraska was hit hard.

The worst thunderstorms were anticipated in the afternoon in Illinois and northern Missouri. They were expected to merge into one large cluster later in the evening, with the threat shifting from tornadoes to straight-line winds.

Thursday night, a storm bearing rain, hail and possible tornadoes struck central Nebraska, damaging businesses, derailing train cars, tearing down trees and disrupting power to thousands.

A possible tornado touched down near Aurora, about 70 miles west of Lincoln, damaging a few businesses and damaging at least one house on the outskirts of town.

There were no immediate reports of deaths or injuries.

Tornadoes were also reported in Kearney, about 60 miles west of Aurora, where 40 rail cars were blown off the tracks outside the city limits. There were reports of downed trees and power lines throughout Kearney, and reports of damage on the University of Nebraska at Kearney campus and at a county fairgrounds.

Downtown Aurora appeared mostly untouched by the storm, but there were twisted trees and metal buildings on the outskirts. State officials closed down a section of Interstate 80 nearby because of downed power lines.

State officials were headed to Kearney to assess the damage. Jen Rae Hein, spokeswoman for Gov. Dave Heineman, said the state's emergency operations center was set up Thursday evening.

Buffalo County residents were warned to remain indoors and travel was discouraged.

Nebraska Public Power District spokesman Mark Becker said 12,000 Kearney customers were without power Thursday evening.

The National Weather Service issued several advisories for Nebraska and Kansas into Friday morning, including flooding warnings for areas already struggling from heavy rains earlier in the week. That storm system dumped 7 inches of rain on some parts of central Nebraska.

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