At least 3 people are dead from severe weather near Golden City, Missouri

GOLDEN CITY,  Mo. — In southwest Missouri, three people died Wednesday night in Golden City, Missouri, and several others in Carl Junction were injured, according to the Missouri State Emergency Management Agency.

Golden City is approximately two hours south of Kansas City.

Tornado in Joplin

One of the tornadoes that hit Missouri was near Joplin, on the eighth anniversary of an EF5 tornado that killed 161 people in that city.

The National Weather Service said a damaging tornado was spotted and tennis ball-sized hail was possible.

According to radar images, the twister passed a few miles north of Joplin.

Missouri couple dies in traffic accident

A husband and wife in Missouri were killed Tuesday when their SUV skidded across the center lines of US highway 160 and the vehicle struck a semi.

At least one person drowned in Oklahoma after driving around a barricade on a road in Perkins, the city's Emergency Management office announced.

And in Iowa, a tornado apparently destroyed a home early Wednesday near the city of Adair, killing a woman and seriously injuring a man, officials said.

Water rescues

The extreme weather is not just limited to tornadoes.

Parts of Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri had more than three inches of rain in the past 24 hours, and are still under flood warnings, the National Weather Service said.

After the drenching rain, rescuers such as those in the Broken Arrow Fire Department in Oklahoma posted harrowing videos of people being pulled out of gushing flood waters and warned people to avoid flooded roads.

Firefighters responded to a car swept off the roadway Tuesday and found a man clinging to a fence post, unable to get out of the water, CNN affiliate KOKI reported.

The rescue team deployed a life safety rope and got in the water to climb to the victim. They gave him a flotation device and pulled him to safety.

The emergency was the latest consequence of storms and torrential rains that have ravaged the Midwest, from Texas through Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri and Illinois.

Two barges broke loose and floated swiftly down the swollen Arkansas River in eastern Oklahoma on Wednesday, spreading alarm downstream as they threatened to hit a dam.

Authorities urged residents of several small towns in Oklahoma and Kansas to leave their homes as rivers and streams rose.

The Arkansas River town of Webbers Falls, Oklahoma, was one such town. Town officials ordered a mandatory evacuation Wednesday afternoon because of the river's rising level.

But Wednesday evening, a posting on the town's official Facebook page sounded the alarm about the runaway barges for its 600 residents: "Evacuate Webbers Falls immediately. The barges are loose and has the potential to hit the lock and dam 16. If the dam breaks, it will be catastrophic!! Leave now!!"

There was no word by midnight Wednesday where the barges were on the river, but local television stations showing live video of the river and the lock and dam said they had not yet arrived.

The National Weather Service said it had received 22 reports of tornadoes by late Wednesday evening, although some of those could be duplicate reporting of the same twister.

In the Missouri capital of Jefferson City, the mayor issued a mandatory evacuation for an area involving a handful of homes. The city's airport also has been evacuated.

The Arkansas River was approaching historic highs, while the already high Missouri and Mississippi Rivers were again rising after a multi-day stretch of storms that produced dozens of tornadoes.

"The biggest concern is more rain," Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt said during a news conference following an aerial tour with Tulsa Mayor G.W. Bynum and other officials Wednesday morning.

The deluge inundated roadways, closing highways in 22 Oklahoma counties and 17 Kansas counties, along with more than 330 Missouri roads. Amtrak suspended train service Wednesday and Thursday along a route between St. Louis and Kansas City because of congestion and flood-related delays.

The Arkansas River, which was just above 37 feet (11 meters), or 9 feet (2.74 meters) above flood stage, at Muskogee, Oklahoma, was expected to eventually reach 43.5 feet (13.26 meters). Officials encouraged residents in several communities along the river to leave their homes.

But Bynum, Tulsa's mayor, said his city of more than 400,000 people was safe so far.

"The levee system is working the way it's supposed to right now," he said.

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 Tuesday, and authorities say others could collapse.

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

"Any rainfall we get just continues to saturate the soils that are already saturated. Especially rivers and streams," said Oklahoma State Climatologist Gary McManus.

"There is simply nowhere for this water to go" as it flows downstream from Kansas, according to McManus.

In Kansas, residents in parts of the city of Iola, along the Neosho River, were being urged to evacuate and officials had set up on emergency shelter at a community college, said Corey Schinstock, assistant city administrator. If the river reaches its predicted crest of 27.8 feet (8.47 meters) Thursday, it would be the second-worst flood ever for the town of about 5,400 residents.

Elsewhere, the Mississippi River was at or approaching major flood stage from Iowa through southern Missouri and Illinois. At St. Louis, the Mississippi was expected to crest Monday at nearly 12 feet (3.7 meters) above flood stage. If that holds, the Coast Guard will likely close the river to navigation for the second time this month.

Along the Missouri River, about 50 levees in Missouri could be overtopped by Saturday as high water levels move downstream, according to the Army Corps of Engineers. The river was expected to crest Thursday at 36.1 feet (11 meters) near the town of Glasgow, Missouri, overtopping agricultural levees and inundating some homes, highways and parkland.

 

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