14 killed in brutal tornadoes and floods in south and midwest US

Remigio Civitarese
Mag 3, 2017

A 72-year-old woman drowned even as her husband tried to save her as the vehicle they were in was swept away by rushing waters in Clever, Missouri, reports the Kansas City Star.

Flooding that could be record breaking in eastern Oklahoma, northern Arkansas, Missouri and IL was expected to take several days to recede, it said. There is a severe weather warning of isolated tornadoes, high winds and large hail for 22 million people in six states from North Carolina to NY.

Rainstorms began Friday around the state, bringing large amounts of rainfall and causing flooding, the weather service said.

Spring is the primary time of year for severe weather in the central U.S., which is commonly referred to as "Tornado Alley".

The death toll from the storms was raised to 15 Monday, although authorities in some areas have issued conflicting reports on the number. The Rustic Barn, where a local high school was scheduled to hold its prom Saturday night, was completely flattened. The storm briefly shut down Interstate 70, and National Guard teams were called out at least 40 times to rescue stranded motorists.

The National Weather Service confirmed that four tornadoes hit parts of Henderson and Rains counties.

Floods swept cars off the road and pulled down trees and power lines, flattening several homes.

The tornado hit about a mile from 17-year-old Hayley Herron's house.

And a chance remained for more severe weather in the South.

A vehicle dealership in Van Zandt County was demolished in the freak weather, as cars were overturned and flung into the air before landing on a nearby highway.

Forecasters had initially anticipated more widespread storms, but said early Monday afternoon that fog and low cloud cover would hold the bad weather west of the city.

Two toddlers were in a vehicle swept off a bridge in Hindsville, Arkansas; rescuers have recovered the body of the 4-year-old boy but have not yet found his 18-month-old sister. The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency said another person died in Durant, in the central part of the state. Authorities speculate there might have been as many as 20 areas hit by strong winds Sunday, throughout the state.

In Tennessee, a two-year-old girl, Melanie Espinoza Rodriguez, was killed after she was struck by a heavy, metal goal post that fell over in high winds, the Metro Nashville Police Department said on Twitter.

Tornadoes tore roofs off homes, ripped trees out of the ground and tossed cars around "like toys", one witness said.

Making things more complicated, Davis said Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann advised town officials that they can not postpone city elections scheduled for today.

At least four were killed and 49 people were hurt, Canton Mayor Lou Ann Everett said.

Four people are dead.

In Mississippi, two storm-related deaths were reported Sunday, in Holmes County and Rankin County, where a child died from electric shock in floodwaters, the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency said. "There are several places that have seen water levels several feet higher than anytime in Missouri's recorded history", he said.

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