- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 27, 2016

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - The Latest on severe weather in the central and eastern U.S. (all times local):

11:30 p.m.

Authorities say they are responding to reports of trees blown onto houses in the Tulsa area amid severe storms.

The City of Tulsa said in a statement late Tuesday night that emergency crews are assessing the situation and no injuries have been reported. Trees and power lines were down across the city.

A tornado watch is in effect for part of the area until midnight. Tornado warnings were in effect east of Tulsa until 11:45 p.m.

In Oklahoma City, the emergency management department said survey crews would assess damage Wednesday morning.

Public Service Company of Oklahoma says about 6,800 customers across the state were without power.

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8 p.m.

Some grapefruit-sized hail has fallen near the northeast Kansas community of Bremen.

Marshall County’s emergency management chief says reports of roof damage and broken car windows were coming in hours after large hail fell for about 15 minutes early Tuesday evening. Bill Schwindamann says it’s too early to assess whether the huge hail caused any crop damage.

He says hailstones started small around 5 p.m. before growing to as much as 4 inches in diameter.

Several counties in Kansas reported hail the size of golf balls or larger as a line of strong storms worked their way northeast.

Schwindamann said more storms were expected in the area Tuesday night, but he didn’t think they would be as strong as the earlier ones.

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7 p.m.

Forecasters are telling residents in the Great Plains where severe storms have been moving through to remain vigilant for a few more hours because tornadoes are still possible.

They say low-level wind activity that can produce tornadoes has been relatively dormant so far, but that could change. One small rope tornado has been reported in rural Kansas on Tuesday, with no damage reported.

Storm Prediction Center meteorologist Stephen Goss says storms sweeping across the Plains could be buoyed Tuesday night by an increase in low-level wind activity that usually accommodates higher tornadic activity.

Low-level wind shear usually increases around this time of day.

Hail and damaging winds remain a threat.

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6:40 p.m.

The National Weather Service says tennis ball-sized hall has been reported in parts of south-central Nebraska.

Meteorologist Shawn Rossi says the hail was reported near the town of Deshler, about 10 miles north of the Kansas border, but it’s not clear whether it caused any damage.

Funnel clouds were reported in the area, but Rossi says there haven’t been any confirmed tornadoes on the ground.

A tornado watch encompassing North Texas, western central Texas and most of Oklahoma is expected to last until midnight. A tornado watch in central and eastern Kansas and southern Nebraska is set to expire at 9 p.m.

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6:30 p.m.

Some Indiana residents have reported seeing a tornado in the Ohio River community of Newburgh, but the fire chief says there has been no confirmation of a touch down.

Newburgh Fire Chief Paul Campbell also says he doesn’t have any reports of damage in the village of about 3,350 residents.

The residents of Newburgh are among millions of people across the central U.S. that are at risk of being hit by strong thunderstorms capable of dropping grapefruit-sized hail and producing a few intense tornadoes.

In all, about 70 million people nationwide were at a slight risk or higher of severe weather.

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6:15 p.m.

The National Weather Service is warning of increasing flash flooding danger in Kansas between Manhattan and Topeka because of heavy rains.

Meteorologist Chad Omitt says the area is experiencing 50-year rainfall amounts and more rain is expected throughout Tuesday evening. He urges motorists to avoid driving through flooded roads.

Baseball-size hail was reported in Hanover. More than 2 inches of rain has fallen in northeast Kansas as the system slices diagonally across the state.

Winds up to 60 mph have been reported west of Topeka as cloud rotation spawned numerous tornado warnings that later were allowed to expire.

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4:45 p.m.

The National Weather Service says a small rope tornado has touched down in Kansas. No injuries were reported.

The tornado was seen Tuesday about 4 miles southwest of Mayfield in Sumner County.

The weather service says it also has received several reports of hail moving into south-central Kansas. Hail ranging from quarter-sized to golf-ball sized was reported cross the region but no serious damage has been confirmed.

A tornado watch encompassing North Texas, western central Texas and most of Oklahoma is expected to last until midnight. A tornado watch in central and eastern Kansas and southern Nebraska is set to expire at 9 p.m.

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4 p.m.

The National Weather Service says said 67 mph winds have been reported at Spirit of St. Louis Airport in Chesterfield, Missouri.

John Bales, director of aviation at Spirit, says the airport was bracing for the worst when the sky turned green Tuesday, but there wasn’t substantial damage.

Nickel-sized hail fell and the wind kicked up. A few trees and a power line snapped.

Hail the size of quarters fell on parts of the St. Louis region. Wind knocked over trees and power lines in Warren, Franklin and St. Charles counties.

The St. Louis region was under thunderstorm watches through most of the evening. No injuries or significant damage was immediately reported.

The power company Ameren reported 28,000 outages in the St. Louis area.

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3:15 p.m.

The National Weather Service has issued a tornado warning for part of Sumner County in south-central Kansas.

The weather service says a severe thunderstorm capable of producing a tornado is near Caldwell and moving northeast. It’s also warning of hail of up to 2 inches in diameter.

A tornado watch encompassing North Texas, western central Texas and most of Oklahoma is expected to last until midnight. A tornado watch in central and eastern Kansas and southern Nebraska is set to expire at 9 p.m.

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3 p.m.

The National Weather Service has issued a tornado watch in an area spanning four states and encompassing Dallas, Oklahoma City and Wichita, Kansas.

Forecasters are warning of a “particularly dangerous” widespread event that could subject some areas to grapefruit-sized hail, a few intense tornadoes and damaging winds with isolated gusts as high as 80 mph.

A tornado watch encompassing North Texas, western central Texas and most of Oklahoma is expected to last until midnight. A tornado watch in central and eastern Kansas and southern Nebraska is set to expire at 9 p.m.

Forecasters warn the storms could form rapidly in the next few hours as they roll from west to east.

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2:30 p.m.

Storms with rain, lightning, hail and high wind are creating problems across Missouri.

The National Weather Service says a strong storm is heading east across the state, reaching the St. Louis area in mid-afternoon. Winds of 67 mph were reported at Spirit of St. Louis Airport in suburban Chesterfield.

Power lines and trees were down in several counties, and heavy rain was falling. There are no reports of injuries in eastern Missouri.

In the mid-Missouri town of Columbia, lightning caused a garage fire.

Much of the St. Louis area is under thunderstorm watches and warnings through much of Tuesday evening.

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2 p.m.

Schools in large sections of Kansas have canceled classes and extra-curricular activities to prepare for potentially dangerous storms packing tornadoes, rain and hail.

Wichita State University closed all of its locations at noon Tuesday and postponed baseball and softball games scheduled for Tuesday evening. Schools and other organizations stretching from Arkansas City to Topeka also canceled many after-school activities.

And officials at McConnell Air Force Base evacuated aircraft at the base in Wichita as a precaution. The planes and support personnel were sent to Washington and North Dakota.

The National Weather Service office in Wichita says the storms are expected in the Wichita area Tuesday afternoon and could continue past sunset, carrying possible hail of 3 inches or larger and the potential for nighttime tornadoes.

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1 p.m.

Winds gusting up to 60 mph have downed trees and caused some damage in a central and northern Missouri.

Fire Battalion Chief Michael Hawkins says the winds also damaged a roof at a plumbing company in Sedalia, 90 miles east of Kansas City. No injuries have been reported

Kansas City Power & Light says about 2,700 homes and businesses in Sedalia are without power.

Strong winds and some minor flash flooding have been reported in Clay County in northern Missouri, where winds of up to 60 mph damaged two docks at Smithville Lake.

The National Weather Service says storms early Tuesday brought torrential rains and hail ranging from 1 to 1.5 inches in Kansas City and other northwest Missouri towns, stretching north to St. Joseph.

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12:45 p.m.

Forecasters say the Dallas-Fort Worth area is now in the path of a potentially dangerous storm system that could bring damaging winds, big hail and tornadoes to the central U.S.

The Storm Prediction Center’s latest forecast, issued at midday Tuesday, extends the moderate risk south to include the Dallas area along with much of Oklahoma and Kansas. In all, more than 53 million people live in areas with at least a slight risk of severe weather Tuesday, including those on the East Coast facing a separate storm system.

Storm Prediction Center Meteorologist Stephen Corfidi says the system moving through Tuesday afternoon and evening could produce giant hail and large tornadoes. He says North Texas is now the area most at risk for damaging winds.

An advisory from the center predicts a “widespread multi-episode significant severe-weather event.”

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11:30 a.m.

Some Oklahoma residents are taking steps to secure property from tornadoes, fast-sweeping winds and potentially damaging large hail.

George Eischen says he spent Tuesday morning moving vehicles off the lot at his Chevrolet dealership in the small town of Fairview, about 100 miles northwest of Oklahoma City.

Forecasters are predicting giant hail the size of grapefruits could fall on parts of the Great Plains on Tuesday.

Eischen says he has been lining the new vehicles “bumper to bumper” inside the shop and even the lobby to protect them from the hail, which he calls “the real enemy of the car dealer.”

The 51-year-old Eischen says the town of Fairview has never been hit by a tornado, but it is close to the sites of two large earthquakes recorded earlier this year.

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9:45 a.m.

Officials have removed aircraft from a Kansas military base to prevent them from being damaged during expected heavy storms.

McConnell Air Force Base spokesman Colby Hardin says the aircraft are being sent to Fairchild Air Force Base in Spokane, Washington, and Grand Forks Air Force Base in North Dakota.

The Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma, is forecasting severe storms with the possibility of tornadoes and large hail Tuesday, including in the Wichita area. McConnell is about 9 mile southeast of Wichita.

The aircraft and support personnel will return when conditions are safe. The air base is open for business Tuesday.

McConnell currently houses mostly 1950s-era KC-135 refueling tanks. That fleet is being replaced by new KC-46A tankers, which are scheduled to begin arriving next year.

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8 a.m.

The Storm Prediction Center says nearly 50 million people are at risk for severe weather.

Forecasters say giant and destructive hail is likely in parts of Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas on Tuesday. The latest forecast says “significant” tornadoes are also possible in those states, but baseball-sized hail or larger will be more widespread.

In the east, Washington, D.C., is now considered at slight risk for damaging winds and hail on Tuesday, along with Baltimore and Philadelphia.

Forecasters say the storms are expected to hit Tuesday afternoon and evening.

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6:50 a.m.

Stormy weather in the eastern U.S. could bring damaging winds to Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania, where voters are casting ballots in primary elections.

The Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma, says Philadelphia and Baltimore are at a slight risk for severe weather Tuesday. Forecasters say a storm system - separate from the one taking aim at Great Plains states - could bring isolated severe thunderstorms, hail and powerful wind gusts to the Mid-Atlantic on Tuesday afternoon and early evening.

Polls close in the three states at 8 p.m. Voters in Rhode Island and Connecticut also cast ballots Tuesday.

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6:15 a.m.

A handful of Oklahoma schools have preemptively canceled classes Tuesday in light of an ominous forecast that’s predicting dangerous tornadoes and giant hail for parts of the Great Plains.

Mid-Del Public Schools in the Oklahoma City suburb of Midwest City called off classes, saying that the safety and security of students and staff was the top priority. That district, along with others across Oklahoma, implemented new tornado safety plans following the 2013 twister that killed seven schoolchildren in Moore.

The Storm Prediction Center says much of the central U.S. is at risk for severe weather Tuesday, including tornadoes and grapefruit-sized hail. In all, nearly 37 million people are at a slight risk or higher for severe weather Tuesday.

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1:20 a.m.

School districts and authorities are bracing for the possibility of a severe weather outbreak that could bring powerful, long-track tornadoes and large hail to the Great Plains.

The weather on Tuesday could include heavy winds, tornadoes and hail as large as baseballs or softballs. The Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma, says the most dangerous weather will likely take aim at an approximately 70,000-square-mile area stretching from southern Oklahoma to southern Nebraska.

In all, nearly 37 million people from the Rio Grande River in South Texas to Omaha, Nebraska, and the western regions of Missouri, Arkansas and Iowa are at a slight risk or higher of experiencing severe weather Tuesday.

In the east, a separate storm system could bring thunderstorms, strong winds and hail to Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C., but the risk of severe outbreaks is low.

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