- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 7, 2015

ST. LOUIS (AP) - Lightning-packing storms pummeled the St. Louis region Tuesday with inches of rainfall and two-inch hail, causing flash flooding that turned streets and yards into makeshift ponds of standing water as the nation’s midsection girded for more potential severe weather.

The severe weather in Missouri produced reports of more than 3 inches of rainfall near Augusta west of St. Louis, National Weather Service meteorologist Laura Kanofsky said. Areas of flash flooding were commonplace throughout St. Louis County before the band of severe weather crept out of the region before noon Tuesday, Kanofsky said.

There were no immediate reports of injuries.

KMOV-TV reported that a lightning strike caused a Mississippi River traffic signal on the Eads Bridge linking Missouri and Illinois to malfunction. Crews notified the Coast Guard to inform any barge traffic of the issue.

Later in the day, storms in southwestern Indiana toppled trees and downed power lines. Indiana State Police reported that strong winds caused a semitrailer to overturn on Interstate 69 near Evansville. Wind gusts measuring 70 mph were recorded in Spencer.

More storms were possible elsewhere in the central U.S.

Spring warming and changes in where the jet stream carves a path in the upper atmosphere were combining to increase the chances of severe weather across the Plains on Wednesday and Thursday, the Storm Prediction Center said.

Particularly strong storms were possible in Kansas and Oklahoma on Wednesday and across Illinois on Thursday, with large hail, high wind gusts and a few tornadoes possible. Other severe storms could form from Michigan to Texas both days.

The various contributors to severe weather - instability, heat, frontal passages - won’t time out perfectly Wednesday but still will cause problems, said Greg Carbin, the warning coordination meteorologist at the Norman, Oklahoma-based center.

“By Thursday, it looks like all those ingredients come together. The timing looks better. You can really blow up some big storms,” Carbin said.

___

Kissel reported from Little Rock, Arkansas.

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