Heavy rain flooded homes, closed roads and prompted water rescues in the Southern Plains Tuesday as severe weather that has spawned more than 30 tornadoes continued to slam Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas and Missouri.
Two tornadoes were reported in different parts of eastern Kansas Monday evening – one near Junction City, about an hour west of Topeka, and another further south near Webster.
— Matt McCune (@ksufearless) May 21, 2019
A possible tornado Tuesday afternoon caused minor damage in Strafford, Missouri, about 14 miles east of Springfield.
“We had a semi blow off the interstate, several trees down and a handful of houses with roof damage, RVs blown over, that sort of thing,” Strafford Fire Battalion Chief Rusty Darnell told weather.com.
Darnell said the truck driver was transported to the hospital with minor injuries. Buildings were also damaged at Wild Animal Safari, a 350-acre attraction in Strafford. The park features over 450 animals including tigers, zebras and hyenas. Darnell said all the animals were accounted for, despite a false report that a lion was on the loose.
“All the man-eating critters were still caged up,” he said.
The St. Louis Cardinals called off their game Tuesday night against the Kansas City Royals, due to threats of continued severe weather and flooding. The game was rescheduled for Wednesday.
An 18-year-old woman was rescued Tuesday morning, eight hours after her car was swept into Turkey Creek in Joplin, Missouri, Four States Homepage reported. She was found about 7 a.m. on an island two miles from where her car went into the water just before 11 p.m. Monday. Two other people whose cars were also caught by floodwaters were rescued as well. One of the men was in the water about 45 minutes, the other was there for three hours.
A reported tornado knocked down trees and caused damage to a dozen homes in Tulsa, Oklahoma, about 6:30 a.m. CT, according to the National Weather Service. Radar confirmed the tornado near the Tulsa airport, where about a dozen flights were canceled. The Tulsa Fire Department worked to rescue a man after a tree fell onto his home, trapping him inside. Neighbors heard the man calling for help.
Storms are still dropping several inches of rain. Interstate 40 was closed in both directions just west of Oklahoma City for several hours because of flooding at Six-Mile Creek.
The Oklahoma Highway Patrol used airboats about 11:30 a.m. to rescue people trapped in five homes by flooding in Skiatook, Oklahoma, just north of Tulsa.
Live video showed rescue crews with boats helping people in El Reno, west of Oklahoma City, escape their flooded homes shortly before 9 a.m. A short while later, a woman and the good Samaritan who was trying to help her clung to a tree in Oklahoma City as muddy brown water washed over them, KFOR reported. Bystanders were able to pull them both to safety.
Parts of Hominy, Oklahoma, were evacuated as up to 5 feet of water entered some homes. Hominy emergency services rescued four people in two high water rescues. There were no injuries.
Residents also were being rescued from their homes early Tuesday when flash flooding hit Stillwater, Oklahoma, about 50 miles northeast of Oklahoma City. Many streets were impassable. Schools in Stillwater Pryor, Sperry and Bixby were closed Tuesday because of the flooding.
Rob Hill, director of the city of Stillwater Emergency Management Agency, shared live video on Facebook as a family was rescued from their flooded home.
“We got more rain just coming down on top of us. We have completely run out of barricades from our public works department,” Hill says in the video. “Listen people, there are just so many areas of this town that are flooded right now, I’m begging you, please don’t get out right now. Please just stay home.”
Nowata, Dewey and White Oak in northern Oklahoma also had reports of flooding early Tuesday. Flooding was reported Monday night in Ponca City, where a police dispatcher told weather.com that water was coming into the police department building.
— This Is The Deal…. (@michaeldewell) May 20, 2019
Washington County Commissioner Mike Bouvier told reporters there are so many roads flooded his county that they don’t have enough barricades or staff to block them all.
National Weather Service reports said three cars were swept off a road by floodwater in Joplin, Missouri, early Tuesday. Flooding blocked U.S. 24 in Independence, Missouri. There were also reports of flooding in nearby Medford, as well as in Cowley County, Kansas, south of Wichita. In Osage County, Kansas, State highway 68 was closed for flooding at two different points, according to the Kansas Department of Transportation. State highway 99 north of Emporia was closed for flooding at Interstate 35 and Kansas 170.
A father and son in Collin, Missouri, were injured when the shed they were in was picked up and thrown 20 yards by a storm, KY3 reported. Mariah Stewart told the TV station her father Dennis had broken ribs and a punctured lung, and her brother Dawson, 13, had two fractures in his lower back and a concussion.
Schools were closed Tuesday in Sedgwick County, Kansas, which surrounds Wichita, because of the flooding threat. In nearby Saline County, officials urged residents of New Cambria to evacuate because of flood potential on the Smoky River.
In Wheatland, Missouri, 11 people were injured, four of whom were hospitalized, after a storm hit the Lucas Oil Speedway on Monday, KY3 reported. An RV park at the race track was torn apart, and the grandstand looked like a pile of twisted spaghetti.
Storm damage at the off-road track at the Lucas Oil Speedway in Wheatland, Missouri. pic.twitter.com/7BGwdgNSef
— Lexi Spivak (@LexiSpivakTV) May 21, 2019