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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 
accounted for.

   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 
flooding.

   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.


(KA)

 
 
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