Another Day of Tornadoes in Midwest 05/22 06:21
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- A dangerous storm system in the Midwest produced dozens of
tornadoes for the second consecutive day Tuesday, demolishing a racetrack
grandstand and damaging buildings in a wild animal park in Missouri but sparing
St. Louis, the biggest city in its path.
Two deaths, both in Missouri, were blamed on the severe weather that started
in the Southern Plains Monday night and moved to the northeast. Missouri and
parts of Illinois and Arkansas were in the crosshairs Tuesday. By Wednesday,
the storm will move into Great Lakes region, where it will weaken. But another
storm system was gathering steam for later this week, potentially covering an
area from Texas to Chicago, according to the National Weather Service.
The skies grew dark over St. Louis before nightfall Tuesday and a tornado
warning was issued for the city and surrounding suburbs, but the storm passed
overhead without producing the rotation that often spawns tornadoes and the
city was mostly spared except for heavy rain.
"The danger has passed for the St. Louis area," said National Weather
Service St. Louis meteorologist Jason Gasselin.
The weather service Storm Prediction Center website listed 37 reports of
tornadoes on Tuesday in Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska.
A tornado early Tuesday near Tulsa International Airport injured one person
and damaged about a dozen homes. The airport was unscathed, but passengers were
moved into shelters for about 30 minutes and several flights were delayed.
Tulsa Area Emergency Management spokeswoman Kim MacLeod said crews rescued a
man who was pinned under a tree.
Storms Monday evening flipped campers at Lucas Oil Speedway in Hickory
County, Missouri, injuring seven people, four of whom were taken to hospitals.
The speedway's grandstand also was destroyed, forcing cancellation of racing
this weekend that was expected to draw about 3,000 campers.
Another twister Tuesday afternoon hit a drive-thru wild animal park in
southern Missouri. Webster County Emergency Management Director Tom Simmons
said buildings were damaged at the Wild Animal Safari near Strafford, but there
were no reports that people or animals were injured. All of the animals were
Simmons said about a half-dozen homes were damaged in the county. A
tractor-trailer was blown off a highway.
Heavy rain was called a contributing factor in the deaths of two people in a
traffic accident Tuesday near Springfield, Missouri. The Missouri State Highway
Patrol said an SUV skidded across the center of U.S. 160 and struck a
tractor-trailer, killing both people in the SUV, Brandon Beasley, 23, and his
24-year-old wife, Christin, of Willard, Missouri.
Missouri authorities also reported several water rescues from flash
flooding. Among them was an 18-year-old woman who was swept off a flooded road
near Joplin Monday and stranded overnight until nearby residents heard her
yelling. She had only minor injuries.
Missouri Gov. Mike Parson declared a state of emergency, citing worsening
flood concerns and soil inundation, as well as forecasts calling severe storms
and possible tornadoes into Wednesday morning.
Flooding was also an issue in Oklahoma, where the Oklahoma Department of
Transportation shut down Interstate 40 in El Reno, about 25 miles (40
kilometers) west of Oklahoma City, because of high water. The National Weather
Service says up to 5 inches (13 centimeters) of rain had fallen since Monday.
In El Reno and Stillwater, home to Oklahoma State University about 55 miles (88
kilometers) northeast of Oklahoma City, emergency responders rescued people
from their homes.
With a potentially dangerous storm bearing down on St. Louis, baseball's
Cardinals were taking no chances, calling off a Tuesday night game against the
cross-state rival Kansas City Royals.
Heavy snow melt from the north and significant spring rains have led to
waves of flooding in Missouri, and President Donald Trump on Monday issued a
major disaster declaration for 13 counties in the state damaged by March
The Missouri River is expected to reach major flood stage by the end of the
week at Jefferson City, Hermann, St. Charles and elsewhere. The levee near
Jefferson City's airport holds back water up to 30 feet (9.14 meters), Cole
County Emergency Manager Bill Farr said, but the National Weather Service
expects a crest of 32.3 feet (9.85 meters) Thursday. Sandbagging won't help
because the levee is too long, he said.
"We're just keeping our fingers crossed," Farr said.