At least 7 dead as severe weather hits the Plains; storms next headed to East Coast

2019-05-23 ABC News tornado storm flooding store_1558590435350.jpg.jpg

At least seven people are dead — five in Missouri, one in Oklahoma and one in Iowa — after severe weather hit the Plains this week.

At least 80 tornadoes were reported across Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa and Nebraska within two days. On Wednesday alone, there were 22 reported tornadoes in Oklahoma and Missouri.

The damage Wednesday night was mostly concentrated in Missouri’s Jasper and Howard counties.

There were three deaths in the area of Golden City, about 45 minutes northeast of Joplin, and several injuries in Carl Junction, a suburb of Joplin, according to the Missouri Department of Public Safety.

Related: Another day of tornadoes in Midwest, but St. Louis spared

Local authorities confirmed four deaths on Tuesday, including a woman who drove around a barricade and drowned in floodwaters in Perkins, Oklahoma; a 74-year-old woman who died as a result of her home being hit by a reported tornado in Adair, Iowa; and two deaths were attributed to a car accident in heavy rain near Springfield, Missouri.

Storm damage from a suspected tornado in Wright County at the Town and Country Supermarket in Hartville, Mo., May 21, 2019.

There was also concern in Webbers Falls, Oklahoma, where two barges broke free in swift water on the Arkansas River Wednesday evening and officials feared they could take out a dam downriver.

“Evacuate Webbers Falls immediately,” the town said on its Facebook page. “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!!”

Flood alerts were in effect in the Plains Wednesday. Another 4 inches of rain is expected in some of the already-flooded areas in the next 48 hours.

Joplin was the site of a catastrophic tornado, exactly eight years ago, on May 22, 2011. More than 150 people were killed in that natural disaster.

On Thursday, part of the storm system moves into the Northeast and brings a chance for severe weather from West Virginia to New England.

The Northeast is most at-risk for wind gusts, heavy rain, scattered hail and tornadoes during Thursday afternoon and evening.

The Plains will remain at risk for large hail, damaging winds and tornadoes at that time, too.


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