(CNN) – Today’s first tornado sightings are in effect until 8 p.m. CST, for parts of western and central Iowa, northeastern Kansas, south-central Minnesota, northwestern Missouri, eastern Nebraska, and far southeastern Dakota. Storm Forecasting Center.
The alert covers more than 4 million people and includes Omaha, Grand Island, Lincoln, Sioux City and Des Moines.
Harmful winds blowing from storms Speeds of up to 144 km/h, along with some strong tornadoes, are possible in the observation area this afternoon and into the late hours of the night. Additional alerts are likely during the afternoon and evening.
Flights to and from Garden City, Kansas, as well as public school, were canceled Wednesday due to a strong wind storm.
Mike Sheiman, the airport’s air traffic controller, told CNN his highest winds so far were 143 km/h at 12:32 p.m. local time.
Meanwhile, a severe storm that produces severe weather, hurricanes and severe fire danger also results in widespread damaging winds. Multiple locations, including the US Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, have reported wind gusts of 160 km/h or more, according to the National Weather Service.
Hurricane-force winds were already recorded in at least 7 states at 4 p.m. ET this afternoon. Strong winds cause dust storms in parts of the plains.
Interstate 70 is closed in both directions from the Colorado State Line to Russell, Kansas, where sand and dust result in near zero visibility, according to the Kansas Department of Transportation.
Dave Henin and Paul B. Murphy contributed to this report.
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