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Hail Storm Pounds Plains States

June 28, 1999

SCOTTSBLUFF, Neb. (AP) _ Hail as large as baseballs stripped branches from trees, smashed windows and cars, and injured about two dozen people as severe thunderstorms battered the central Plains. Flash flooding forced people out of one neighborhood in Kansas.

Thousands of cars and hundreds of homes were damaged Sunday in Scottsbluff, city officials said. And in addition to the hail and high wind, streets were awash after 1.25 inches of rain.

``We have unbelievable flooding, trees that look like sticks, and the roofs of cars left outdoors are all beat up,″ said Denise Sinner, a Scotts Bluff County dispatch supervisor.

Regional West Medical Center said 24 people were treated for injuries caused by the hail and by flying glass. One policeman was cut when hail shattered a window in his car.

``When it hits your house, it sounds like gunshots being fired at it,″ Scotts Bluff Civil Defense Director Sherry Blaha said of the hail. ``It starts very slowly and got very loud. It’s pretty scary.″

Tornado warnings issued during the storms briefly halted the Nebraska high school rodeo at Thedford _ where the event had been moved because storms the day before flooded the rodeo arena at Broken Bow with water 2 feet deep.

More violent weather lashed Kansas today, with high wind blowing stained glass windows out of the public library in Ottawa and littering the streets with downed trees.

Flash flooding forced residents to evacuate a perennially flooded neighborhood of Kansas City, Kan., and blocked roads in other parts of eastern Kansas.

On Sunday, storms caused flash flooding in northeastern Kansas.

Firefighters at McLouth, Kan., had to use a boat to rescue two people stranded on a narrow strip of land between two rising creeks after they tried to drive across a submerged road, Jefferson County Sheriff’s spokesman Shawn Gordon said.

In Seneca, Kan., several families had to be evacuated from a residential area near the Nemaha River. Some parts of Nemaha County near Corning got up to 7 inches of rain during the day, said Undersheriff Steve Linden.

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