May 3, 2018 / 8:20 PM / in 20 days

Severe weather, including tornadoes, threaten 24 million in U.S.: forecasters

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Severe weather including hail, high winds and possible tornadoes threatened more than 24 million people across the central and northeastern United States on Thursday, meteorologists said.

The main tornado threat was in parts of Missouri, Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska, Marc Chenard, a National Weather Service meteorologist in College Park, Maryland said in a phone interview.

Some 32 tornadoes have been reported in Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Missouri since Tuesday, said meteorologist Patrick Marsh at the NWS’s storm prediction center in Norman, Oklahoma. No injuries had been reported, but images posted online by the NWS showed farm buildings flattened and a mobile home with its roof ripped off in north-central Kansas.

Tornado concerns were not as high on Thursday, forecasters said.

“You can’t rule one out today, but it’s not expecting to be a big time destructive tornado,” said NWS meteorologist Brandon Drake in Topeka, Kansas.

Further east, portions of southern New York state, northern Pennsylvania and western New England, could see wind gusts of up to 60 miles per hour (100 km per hour), powerful enough to down trees, Chenard said.

Hail and wind threatened northeast Texas, southeast Oklahoma and central Arkansas, Chenard said. In addition, Chenard said there was some threat of rain and flash flooding in parts of Iowa and Wisconsin on Thursday.

Reporting by Suzannah Gonzales in Chicago; Editing by Lisa Shumaker

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