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More severe weather to hit many parts of US after tornadoes, thunderstorms

Severe weather is set to batter many parts of the United States on Wednesday, forecasters warned, including parts of the Plains torn by twisters last week.

Violent storms brought heavy rain to the Chicago area Tuesday, and large tornadoes touched Kansas, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. One person fell victim to the bizarre weather after a fatal lightning strike in Florida.

New York City and western Long Island could be hit by heavy rain and high winds on Wednesday, the Weather Channel reported.

In the Plains, a severe thunderstorm and tornado outbreak is expected stretching across a wide swath from South Dakota to central Texas. The threat of twisters was highest from south-central and southeast Nebraska to western Oklahoma.

“The ingredients are coming together for a severe thunderstorm and tornado outbreak in the Plains Wednesday,” said Weather Channel meteorologist Kevin Roth.

Many parts of the Chicago metropolitan area were lashed by torrential rain, frequent lightning and high winds late Tuesday, NBCChicago.com reported.

On the west coast of Florida, a woman was killed by lightning strike while visiting Belleair Beach, police said. Phyllis Kalinowski, 50, from Brandon, Fla., was sightseeing with her friend Dawn Ryskoskis, 45, at 6 p.m. when she was caught in the storm and died of injuries consistent with a lightning strike, according to a statement from the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.

In Chicago, a White Sox vs. Cubs game was canceled because of the rain and tornado warnings were issued for Grundy County and Will County in Illinois. There were also fears of flash flooding.

At least one home was destroyed and other buildings were damaged by a tornado in Nemaha County, north Kansas, late Tuesday, according to the Associated Press, while in Ottawa County a large tornado was reported around 5:30 p.m. local time in the area of Culver and Bennington, about 15 miles north of Salina, according to the Weather Channel.

The dark funnel of one of Kansas’ Tuesday evening tornadoes was captured in a video by the Salina Journal newspaper.

A tornado warning was issued for Erie County, Ohio, shortly before 8 p.m. Tuesday after a funnel cloud was sighted, weather.com said. The Erie County emergency management agency said one and possibly two tornadoes were reported, and one went through the Union City area.

In northwestern Pennsylvania, a tornado touched down and damaged some buildings and at least one mobile home, but no injuries were immediately reported, weather.com said.

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Damaging winds and hail were among the severe weather threats to Upstate New York and New England on Wednesday, Roth said, while some storms were also possible in the upper Mississippi Valley ahead of the outbreak.

The storms could be seen in clusters “from Detroit early in the day then over to Western New York, Pennsylvania, Albany NY, maybe New York City and parts of western Long Island along the warm front by the end of the day,” Weather Channel meteorologist Mark Thibodeau reported.

Wednesday’s storms in the Plains were expected to move slowly, Thibodeau said, hitting the Southern Plains and northern half of the Mississippi Valley on Thursday.

Roth said Thursday’s severe weather threat extends from Minnesota and Wisconsin southwest to central and eastern Oklahoma and west Arkansas with the tornado threat highest in eastern Kansas and central and eastern Oklahoma. 

There was also a risk of flooding in areas close to the Mississippi River following Tuesday's heavy rains, according to Weather Channel meteorologist Bill Karins. 

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