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Good news: Storm chances diminish significantly in the metro area after tonight.
Better news: As the weather eases, Sunday could be a mostly sunny day.
Improving weather in the Midlands, though, comes at the expense of neighboring states.
As heavy rains continue farther east and south, Iowa and Missouri face a flood threat through most of the weekend.
Moderate to major flooding has begun on the eastern side of Iowa and Missouri. Rulo, Neb., also is reporting moderate flooding, which threatens Missouri River cabins and the community of Big Lake, Mo. Minor flooding is forecast for eastern Nebraska, western Iowa and northwest Missouri.
Despite more than a dozen reports of tornadoes on the ground in central Nebraska on Wednesday, no widespread problems were reported. Outbuildings at a handful of farmsteads were damaged and so was at least one rural home, according to the National Weather Service and local emergency managers.
Especially lucky was York. Several tornado touchdowns were reported on multiple sides of the town, but no damage occurred inside city limits.
“That's been a blessing,” said Gary Petersen, emergency management director in York County. “For the most part, we made it through.”
The 24-hour rainfall totals varied in eastern Nebraska and western Iowa, with many areas getting about 1 inch to 2 inches.
Since Saturday, Omaha has received 2.49 inches, with 1.25 inches falling on Wednesday and early Thursday morning, said Dave Fobert, meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
The U.S. Drought Monitor, published Thursday, reflects the state's improving conditions. For the first time since July 2012, a sliver of Nebraska -- the southwest part of the state is entirely free of not only drought but also abnormal dryness.
Al Dutcher, Nebraska's state climatologist, said next week's map would better reflect the benefit of this week's rains because each week's map is based on conditions as of 7 a.m. on Tuesdays.
The rains have replenished soil-moisture levels in eastern Nebraska and raised the levels of depleted stock ponds, but they have yet to percolate through to drawn-down aquifers.
In the eastern part of the state, farmers need fields to dry out so they can complete field work, Dutcher said. Western Nebraska remains in severe drought, he said, and it will take some analysis to see where this week's rains have provided the most benefit.
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