More storms expected as tornadoes batter Midwest

(CNN) -- Heavy thunderstorms are predicted in the U.S. Midwest on Thursday, a day after tornadoes battered several states, forecasters said.

Tornado near Assumption, Neb., June 15, 2009. Photo by Dan Heuertz.

Tornadoes struck parts of Minnesota and Nebraska on Wednesday, uprooting trees, downing power lines and knocking out cell phone service, emergency officials said.

A tornado touched down near the city of Aurora in southeast Nebraska on Wednesday afternoon, the National Weather Service said.

Aurora Mayor Marlin Seeman said the twister severely damaged a rural county five miles west of his town.

Seeman said he was grateful the storm did not directly hit his town and said he would spend Thursday deploying workers to clean up nearby storm-damaged areas.

There were no reports of major injuries, Seeman said.

In Minnesota, a twister caused heavy damage in the Austin area in the southern part of the state. The storm tossed cars and sent trees into homes, a police dispatcher said.

Strong storms are expected to hit parts of Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin on Thursday, forecasters said. The National Weather Service predicted hail, winds of up to 70 mph and dangerous lightning in some areas.

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