Deadly storms hit U.S. Southern Plains, more severe weather coming

Environment


(Reuters) – A storm system that blasted U.S. southern and central states weakened on Tuesday but more severe weather was on the way after thunderstorms and tornadoes left a swath of destruction, killing at least three people and tearing up a NASCAR grandstand.

Rescue services help a man whose vehicle had been swept off the roadway by fast-moving water in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, U.S., May 21, 2019 in this picture obtained from social media on May 21, 2019. Broken Arrow Fire Department/via REUTERS

More than 30 tornadoes struck on Monday and Tuesday in Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri and Iowa, according to meteorologists with the National Weather Service (NWS).

One person was killed and another was injured when a tornado struck the rural town of Adair, Iowa, about 50 miles west of Des Moines, at about 1:30 a.m. local time, the NWS said.

While the weakening storm system was rolling into the Great Lakes region early Wednesday, another system was expected to brew Wednesday night into Thursday, said Brian Hurley, a forecaster with the NWS Weather Prediction Center.

“The Southern Plains can’t catch a break,” Hurley said. “More storms will develop overnight into Thursday morning.”

Rainfall is predicted to be about 2 inches (5 cm) across eastern Kansas, Oklahoma, and into western Missouri, with localized spots getting up to 5 inches (12.7 cm), he said.

“That whole area is still under the gun,” Hurley said.

In Wheatland, Missouri, seven people were injured when a tornado struck the Lucas Oil Speedway, flipping over cars, toppling campers and damaging the grandstands. Local media showed piles of twisted metal and upside down vehicles.

The U.S. Memorial Day weekend “Lucas Oil Show-Me 100” races at the speedway, about 120 miles southeast of Kansas City, were canceled. A crowd topping 3,000 NASCAR fans had been expected, according to track officials.

Crews using boats pulled at least 50 people from rising water and felled trees that smashed homes and blocked roadways on Tuesday, Oklahoma Emergency Management Agency spokeswoman Keli Cain said.

Two people died in a traffic accident on a rain-slicked Missouri highway, police said late Monday.

Missouri Governor Mike Parson declared a state of emergency on Tuesday, out of concern for floods from cresting rivers and streams, with more rain forecast on the way.

Forecasters said the Missouri River is expected to crest on Thursday at more than 32 feet at the state capital of Jefferson City. Local media said that would be two feet (61 cm) higher than the city’s levees.

Reporting by Rich McKay in Atlanta; additional reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee, Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles and Peter Szekely in New York; Editing by Peter Graff and Jeffrey Benkoe



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