Tornado Threat Weakens, but More Thunderstorms, Large Hail Pummel Midwest

IMAGE: Flooding in San Antonio
At least two cars were stranded in floodwaters Wednesday in San Antonio, Texas.WOAI-TV

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By Alex Johnson

Parts of the Midwest and the South were being lashed Wednesday by another spring storm system after tornadoes were blamed for killing at least two people in the Plains states earlier in the week.

Grapefruit-size hail — defined by the National Weather Service as 4 or more inches in diameter — was spotted in metropolitan St. Louis, where winds downed power lines onto a major road, blocking all traffic, NBC station KSDK reported.

Large hail fell Wednesday like this collected in Weldon Spring fell Wednesday over eastern Missouri.@indigojayreads via Twitter

Three homes were damaged when a large tree was knocked over, the St. Louis Fire Department reported. No one was injured.

Minor to moderate was reported from large hail in parts of Missouri. Severe storms were likely to continue throughout the evening, the National Weather Service's St. Louis office said, and significant damage to vehicles is expected, especially in the Weldon Spring area.

In San Antonio, Texas, strong storms with lightning and thunder caused widespread flooding Wednesday, stranding at least two cars in high water. The occupants were rescued safely. Water over the roadway also forced police to close the main lanes of Interstate 35 near downtown.

At least two cars were stranded in floodwaters Wednesday in San Antonio, Texas.WOAI-TV

Storms have beset the Midwest and the South with heavy rain, strong winds and tornadoes all week. Two people were killed Monday when tornadoes hit Oklahoma, and at least 10 people were injured in large tornadoes Tuesday in western Kentucky.

Forecasters said that the system is gradually weakening, however, and that no more tornadoes are expected in the short term.

But more severe storms are forecast at least through Thursday from north-central Texas and Oklahoma into the mid-Mississippi Valley, with the potential for damaging winds, large hail and flash floods.

"More recently over the last 24 hours, we've shifted out of that big tornado mode and more into flooding mode," said Ari Sarsalari, a meteorologist for The Weather Channel.

"While the severe threat won't be quite as bad overnight, there will be the chance that some of them could turn a little bit nasty," he said.