HASTINGS, NE — Officials with the National Weather Service say central Nebraskans should expect severe weather this afternoon and evening.

The NWS lists most of the region in an “Enhanced” risk zone for severe weather. Forecasters say the best chances for storms are between 3:00-8:00 with redevelopment possible in extreme south-central Nebraska from 7:00-11:00. 

The main risks associated with the storms include hail as large as two inches in diameter, damaging winds up to 80 miles per hour and locally high rainfall. The NWS doesn’t expect tornadoes but says an isolated tornado is not out of the question. Forecasters say hail is most likely in the first couple hours of the storms with damaging winds coming later.

The first warning issued in the state came at 1:23 PM. The NWS issued a a Severe Thunderstorm Warning for parts of Dawson, Gosper and Phelps counties including the city of Lexington. According to social media reports, the storm downed several large trees in Lexington. Nebraska Public Power District says 812 customers in Lexington are without power. The utility says it expects power to be restored around 4:00.

The NWS issued a Severe Thunderstorm Watch for most of the central and eastern parts of the state at 2:13 PM. The watch is in effect until 9:00 PM. Additional warnings are expected to be issued.

Officials advise people to be weather aware and to seek shelter if severe weather arrives.