Tornadoes and hail threaten several central U.S. states

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – The National Weather Service warned that large sections of Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas could be hit by tornadoes, destructive hail and high winds on Tuesday, prompting some school districts to send students home early.

Hail about the size of golf balls hit several places in Kansas and Missouri on Tuesday, the service said. This comes after hail storms in Texas in late March and April hit major cities such as Dallas, Fort Worth and San Antonio, causing damage estimated to be several billion dollars.

“Locally damaging wind and marginally severe hail also may occur from the lower Missouri and lower Ohio Valleys to the mid-Atlantic coast,” the National Weather Service said.

Schools in Oklahoma City and several of its suburbs planned to close early on Tuesday, ahead of the severe weather expected to come in the afternoon.

The National Weather Service also issued a severe thunderstorm watch for large parts of Missouri and southern sections of Illinois as a storm front moves through the region.

(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Marguerita Choy)