21 tornadoes ripped through 4 states, now millions are under flooding threat

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. "Please ensure safety plans are in place for your family in case needed for severe weather". A tornado in Paducah, Texas, was also among the multiple twisters spotted.

This highest threat level of severe weather was last issued by the SPC just over two years ago on May 18, 2017.

A press release by the governor's office Tuesday says since Monday, there have been numerous instances of flash flooding.

Officials closed schools, evacuated military aircraft and issued high-water warnings Monday with another round of severe weather potentially including tornadoes forecast for the Southern Plains. Eleven people were injured after trailers were flipped at an RV park near the speedway, and four of them were hospitalized.

The scope of the damage grew with the light of day Tuesday in the aftermath of violent weather that raked through Kansas and Oklahoma Monday.

The main threats with these storms will be high, damaging winds and pockets of large hail.

Rivers levels are unlikely to recede markedly any time soon, considering the forecast for 3 to 6 more inches of rain over the next week in the Missouri and Mississippi River basins. "Travellers, we're looking at road closures from these torrential downpours".

The storms will then spread eastward into Columbia and Springfield, Missouri, as well as Little Rock, Arkansas, during the afternoon hours.

St. Louis' major sports teams - the NHL's Blues and baseball's Cardinals - said they were both prepared for storms that could be rolling through just as they're playing blocks apart on Tuesday night.

A second area of severe thunderstorms could fire up on Tuesday afternoon from central Kansas into central Nebraska.

Oklahoma residents were particularly nervous Monday because it was the sixth anniversary of a massive tornado in Moore, south of Oklahoma City, that killed 24 people.

More tornadoes along with hail and damaging winds were predicted as the storms moved to the east.

Because storms have repeatedly hit the same areas recently, a serious flooding threat has developed in the Plains and the Midwest. More than 8 inches (20 centimeters) of rain has fallen since Sunday in parts of Oklahoma after an already rainy spring.

There is also snow piling up on the cold side of the storm, in the mountains of Colorado and into Wyoming.

  • Jon Douglas