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Tornadoes hit Dayton area; more storms expected farther south

(Reuters) – A tornado slammed into the U.S. city of Dayton, Ohio, on Monday and severe storms were forecast to pound the area overnight, officials and media reports said.

At least two other tornadoes touched down near the city, including one near Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, just east of Dayton, media reports said.

The latest storm comes after tornadoes and floods killed at least six people in Oklahoma over the weekend, including two people in El Reno, near the state capital, on Saturday.

The extent of injuries and damage in Ohio wasn’t clear yet.

“We’re right in the middle of it right now. It’s a mess,” said a phone operator with the Office of Emergency Management in Montgomery County.

Another Emergency Management official said that they were working with the American Red Cross early on Tuesday to set up at least four shelters in the area for any displaced residents.

Some media outlets reported that rescue workers were going door-to-door in parts of Dayton. Police and sheriff’s departments were not immediately available for comment.

Twitter users posted images of debris flying in the air and damaged mobile homes and cars.

Media images online showed snowplows from the Ohio Department of Transportation clearing debris from U.S. Interstate 75 just north of the city.

More than 75,000 homes and businesses were without power early on Tuesday, according to the tracking site PowerOutage.US.

The National Weather Service said multiple tornadoes were reported in the Dayton area between 11 p.m. Monday and 1 a.m. Tuesday.

“We’ll have to get survey crews on the ground in the morning to confirm the severity of the storms, but yes, there is at least one tornado touch-down in the city,” said Zack Taylor, a meteorologist with the NWS Weather Prediction Center in College Park, Maryland.

“The storm system is weakening as it pushes into West Virginia and Virginia, but along with the winds, it has dropped about two or three inches of rain in just two hours,” he said.

Flooded areas of Arkansas and Oklahoma were bracing for more rain that will feed the already swollen Arkansas River, forecasters said on Monday. Arkansas, Oklahoma and Missouri have all activated National Guard units to respond to the storms.

Millions of Americans were under flood warnings on the Memorial Day holiday. Deluges hit Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa and Illinois.

In Tulsa, officials were monitoring the Arkansas River after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers raised the flow at the upriver Keystone Dam by 65% since last week to 275,000 cubic feet per second. The heavier flow is testing two aging levees in Tulsa, the city said.

In Missouri, tornadoes and severe storms killed three people and destroyed or damaged hundreds of homes last week.

Reporting by Rich McKay in Atlanta, additional reporting by Daniel Trotta and Peter Szekely in New York; editing by Darren Schuettler

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Tornado hits city of Dayton, more storms expected in south, central...

(Reuters) – A tornado slammed into the U.S. city of Dayton, Ohio on Monday as severe storms were forecast to pound the area overnight, officials and media reports said.

At least two other tornadoes touched down near the city, including one near Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, just east of Dayton, media reports said.

The latest storm comes after a spate of tornadoes and floods killed at least six people in Oklahoma over the weekend, including two people in El Reno, near the state capital on Saturday.

In Ohio, the extent of the damage and injuries was not immediately clear.

“We’re right in the middle of it right now. It’s a mess,” said a phone operator with the Office of Emergency Management in Montgomery County.

Some media outlets reported that rescue workers were going door-to-door in parts of Dayton. Police and sheriff’s departments were not immediately available for comment.

Twitter users posted images of debris flying in the air and damaged mobile homes and cars.

The National Weather Service said that there were reports of multiple tornadoes in the Dayton area between 11 p.m. Monday and 1 a.m. Tuesday.

“We’ll have to get survey crews on the ground in the morning to confirm the severity of the storms, but yes, there is at least one tornado touch down in the city,” said Zack Taylor, a meteorologist with the NWS Weather Prediction Center in College Park Maryland.

“The storm system is weakening as it pushes into West Virginia and Virginia, but along with the winds, it has dropped about two or three inches of rain in just two hours,” he said.

Flooded areas of Arkansas and Oklahoma were bracing for more rain that will feed the already swollen Arkansas River, forecasters said on Monday, as Missouri deployed the National Guard in anticipation of further storms.

Arkansas and Oklahoma have also activated National Guard units.

Millions of Americans were under flood warnings on the Memorial Day holiday with Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa and Illinois getting a deluge while Oklahoma and Arkansas got a reprieve for the most part.

In Tulsa, officials were monitoring the Arkansas River after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers raised the flow at the upriver Keystone Dam by 65% since last week to 275,000 cubic feet per second. The heavier flow is testing two aging levees in Tulsa, the city said.

In neighboring Missouri, Governor Mike Parson on Monday activated the National Guard to respond to flooding and prepare for severe storms this week, his office said in a statement.

Tornadoes and severe storms that slammed into the state last week killed three people and destroyed or damaged hundreds of homes.

Reporting by Rich McKay in Atlanta, additional reporting by Daniel Trotta and Peter Szekely in New York; editing by Darren Schuettler

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

The Latest: Braggs, Oklahoma completely surrounded by water

TULSA, Okla. (AP) – The Latest on major flooding Oklahoma and Arkansas from severe weather across the central U.S. (all times local):

4:30 p.m.

Officials say a small town in eastern Oklahoma is completely surrounded by water and without power from major flooding on the Arkansas River.

Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management spokeswoman Keli Cain says about 260 residents live in Braggs and it is not clear how many people evacuated before the flooding began.

Cain says Muskogee County officials are urging voluntary evacuations of low-lying areas along the river, where water could be seen up to roofs. Wagoner County officials are also urging evacuations for areas along both the Arkansas and the rising Verdigris River.



Cain says water rescue teams are on their way to assist in Muskogee, Wagoner, Rogers and Nowata counties.

Across the state, 87 people have been injured in the flooding, which has not yet peaked in some areas.

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12:10 p.m.

Oklahoma officials are urging residents to prepare to evacuate some Tulsa neighborhoods that are near stressed, old levees along the Arkansas River.

City officials said Saturday that people living west of downtown should consider leaving for higher ground, even though the levees aren’t currently considered to be in danger of failing.

Mayor G.T. Bynum says the levees were built in the 1940s and haven’t had to hold back this much water since 1986. Officials also say the levees will need to hold back that amount of water until at least Wednesday, which is three days longer than they previously expected.

Officials say if an evacuation becomes necessary, it would need to happen quickly.

The Arkansas River in Tulsa was four feet above flood stage Friday.

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Severe Weather Impacts Blood Supply In Fort Smith

FORT SMITH, Ark. (KFSM) — All of the flooding and severe weather in our area over the last few days has impacted the blood supply at the Arkansas Blood Institute (ABI) in Fort Smith.

The agency is issuing a call to donors of all blood types to give blood as soon as possible to prevent a shortage.

ABI says it needs about 1,200 donors per day to maintain an adequate supply.

If you would like to make a donation you can stop by the office at 5300 South U in Fort Smith.

The Latest: Many Oklahoma rivers crest; warnings remain

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – The Latest on severe weather moving across the central United States (all times local):

6:55 a.m.

Flood warnings remain in effect for much of Oklahoma, though forecasters said many rivers have crested and water levels were beginning to drop.

More than 9 inches (23 centimeters) of rain has fallen since Sunday in parts of Oklahoma after an already rainy spring.

Near Crescent, about 34 miles (55 kilometers) north of Oklahoma City, erosion left several homes hanging over the swollen Cimarron River. One unoccupied home rolled into the river, and authorities said others could collapse.



In Arkansas, forecasters issued flood warnings along the Arkansas River because of the expected rush of water coming from Oklahoma.

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6:20 a.m.

Gov. Mike Parson says storms that slammed Missouri overnight left devastation across much of the state and it was fortunate that only three fatalities have been reported.

Parson said as of early Thursday authorities are not aware of any other people missing but noted that could change as daylight arrives.

The governor credited the low fatality count to the work of numerous safety and law enforcement agencies for warning people across the state about the impending storms.

The three fatalities were reported near Golden City in southwest Missouri.

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6 a.m.

Authorities say a pair of barges that broke loose on the swollen Arkansas River in Oklahoma and threatened to crash into a dam are now stuck on rocks.

The news Thursday morning comes as a relief in the small town of Webbers Falls, where emergency officials had warned of “catastrophic” flooding if the barges struck the dam. The Oklahoma Highway Patrol says the barges are still tied together, and crews are working to secure them.

The Oklahoma Department of Transportation says the Interstate 40 bridge and a state highway bridge remain closed over the Arkansas River at Webbers Falls as a precaution.

Over Memorial Day weekend in 2002, a barge struck the Interstate 40 bridge pier at Webbers Falls, causing part of the bridge to collapse into the Arkansas River. Fourteen people died after their vehicles plunged into the water.

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5:30 a.m.

A tornado has caused heavy damage in Missouri’s capital city as severe weather swept across the state overnight, causing three deaths and trapping dozens of people in the wreckage of their homes.

The National Weather Service confirmed that the large and destructive tornado moved over Jefferson City shortly before midnight on Wednesday.

Gov. Mike Parson said three people died. Missouri Public Safety said they were killed in the Golden City area of Barton County. The governor is praising first responders who have worked through the night to free people from homes that have been ripped apart in the storm.

Jefferson City Police Lt. David Williams says no deaths were reported in the capital, but 20 people have been rescued by emergency personnel.

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Photo Gallery: Weather Where You Live

Severe storms are moving through the Northwest Arkansas and River Valley areas today. Eastern Oklahoma and western Arkansas are under a tornado watch until noon.

Here are a few of your photos of the weather where you live.

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The Latest: Confirmed tornado spotted near Tulsa airport

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – The Latest on severe weather in the central United States (all times local):

6:45 a.m.

The National Weather Service says a confirmed tornado has been spotted near the Tulsa International Airport.

A tornado warning was issued early Tuesday morning for the area. Forecasters say the tornado is moving to the northeast at about 50 mph (80 kph).

The tornado comes as part of a powerful storm system that spawned dozens of tornado sightings Monday and caused significant flash flooding in parts of Oklahoma. The stormy weather is expected to continue Tuesday in eastern Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri and western Illinois.



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6:15 a.m.

A powerful storm system that spawned dozens of tornado sightings is now causing significant flash flooding in parts of Oklahoma.

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 Tuesday morning. The National Weather Service says up to 5 inches of rain has fallen since Monday.

In Stillwater, emergency responders were rescuing people from their homes because of high water.

The Storm Prediction Center had warned of an unusually high risk for severe weather Monday for parts of Oklahoma and Texas. Damage was reported in many areas, including the town of Mangum, but no deaths have been reported.

Forecasters say more stormy weather is expected Tuesday, especially in Arkansas, Missouri and western Illinois.

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After 19 Tornadoes Ripped Through 4 States, Millions Are Now Under Flash Flooding Threat

(CNN) — Severe thunderstorms will drench and flood parts of Oklahoma on Tuesday, following on the heels of a series of tornadoes that touched down in that state and others.

At least 19 tornadoes swept through central Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri and Arkansas on Monday, carrying warnings of “considerable” damage to homes, businesses and vehicles with the possibility of “complete destruction.”

Oklahoma, Missouri and Arkansas were still under a tornado watch early Tuesday, with the National Weather Service warning of “flying debris” which could be dangerous to those caught without shelter.

Wind gusts had reached 74 mph in some Oklahoma communities Tuesday morning. Storms in neighboring Texas were bringing the threat of golf ball-size hail.

Fierce thunderstorms also are expected to rattle regions from the mid-Mississippi River Valley into Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas, the weather service said.

The Little Rock, Arkansas, weather service said the primary threats will be “damaging winds and a few squall-line tornadoes,” with also possible heavy rain and large hail.

Water rescues in Oklahoma

As storms drench the area, more than 50 million people will be at risk of flash flooding, hail and damaging winds.

The weather service has issued a flash flood emergency for the Tulsa area, including Tulsa, Rogers, Mayes, Wagoner, Osage, Pawnee and Washington counties — where up to 5 inches of rain have already fallen and another three could be possible.

The National Weather Service Tulsa urged people in those areas to move to higher ground as more heavy rainfall is expected.

“We’re seeing reports of flooding and water rescues across (northeast) Oklahoma,” state emergency management spokeswoman Keli Cain told CNN.

“Hominy (Osage County) and Broken Arrow (Wagoner County) both have significant flooding and are setting up shelters for people who have been displaced by high water; Washington County Emergency Management reports a mobile home park is flooded in Dewey,” Cain said.

The weather service’s Springfield, Missouri office has also issued a watch lasting into early Tuesday morning for severe thunderstorms in central and southern Missouri.

Wind gusts up to 75 mph, tornadoes, floods and baseball-size hail are possible.

Streets turn into streams

Multiple Oklahoma highways are closed due to high water or storm debris. Authorities warned drivers to stay off roads in anticipation of additional flooding expected overnight.

Roads in Ponca City, in northern Oklahoma, have turned into rivers, with the local government urging drivers to stay away from the water.

The county emergency manager reported flooding in the city had begun to enter buildings, CNN affiliate KTUL reported. Several roads had also been closed off.

In Mangum, near the state’s border with Texas, city officials said a tornado hit a house and ripped the roof off a two-story apartment building, according to CNN affiliate KOCO.

The police department asked residents to “not get out and drive around.”

“On top of emergency crews trying to fix power lines and other damage from the tornado,” the department said, “the roads are now flooding due to the intense rain.”

“By trying to check out the weather, you are only putting yourself and the crews in further danger.”

Stillwater Public Schools, in northern Oklahoma, announced schools in the district will be closed Tuesday “due to excessive flooding.”

Power poles, trees, roofs, barns torn up

More than 4 million people were considered to be in harm’s way early Tuesday morning from Texas to Missouri as forecasters warned of violent tornadoes, CNN Meteorologist Michael Guy said.

The Oklahoma Department of Emergency management reported multiple counties have already reported damage to homes, fairgrounds and barns. Numerous power lines and trees are down.

Severe Weather Timeline For Tonight and Tuesday

An unusually high risk for strong to severe storms with large tornadoes continues across the southern plains on Monday.

Regionally, a tornado outbreak is expected in Oklahoma and Texas. Locally, storms that move from Oklahoma into Arkansas will have a high risk of producing strong tornadoes.

Timeline: 4pm-9pm area-wide Monday.

Another line of strong to severe thunderstorms with a tornado threat will form on Tuesday and work across the area around late morning or early afternoon.

The severe threat is expected to end Tuesday late-afternoon for our entire area.

-Garrett