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


The severe thunderstorms and flooding rain will persist into the overnight hours from northwestern Texas into Oklahoma, parts of Kansas and western Missouri.

The weather service's Springfield, Missouri office has also issued a watch lasting into early Tuesday morning for severe thunderstorms in central and southern Missouri.

In Tulsa, Oklahoma a tornado developed Tuesday morning near Tulsa International Airport.

To put things in perspective, violent tornadoes make up only 0.5% of all tornadoes but account for about half of all tornado deaths, CNN meteorologist Brandon Miller said.

Craig Hilts, a stormchaser photographing near Paducah, a small town in northern Texas, spotted a funnel forming.

The Governor said the state emergency management team is also closely monitoring river levels on the Missouri and MS rivers and tributaries, which are expected to rise again through the weekend.

Fierce thunderstorms also are expected to rattle regions from the mid-Mississippi River Valley into Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas, the weather service said.

Damaging wind is the primary threat and isolated tornadoes are possible.

Some flights at Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City were canceled to avoid damage to aircraft and the possibility of extended delays elsewhere.

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Missouri Governor Mike Parson declared a state of emergency, citing flash flooding, "straight-line winds", heavy rain and hail.

The National Weather Service in Tulsa urged people in those areas to move to higher ground, with more rain expected. Rescue crews in boats pulled at least 50 people from flood waters as heavy downpours inundated roads and homes, said Oklahoma Emergency Management Agency.

Roads were closed, and numerous high-water rescues were required.

The weekend storms brought tornadoes and unprecedented flooding across the central United States in the region known as "Tornado alley".

A dramatic rescue in Oklahoma was caught on camera when a woman was saved from rushing flood waters after severe weather & tornadoes hit the area.

The tornado hit the west side of Mangum, southwest of Oklahoma City.

"Traffic congestion from hundreds or thousands of other residents trying to get to public shelters could have tragic consequences", the city's website reads.

On Monday at least 19 tornadoes caused scattered damage and a deluge of rain, sparking flooding and causing damage to buildings and vehicles.

Four million residents were under a flash flood emergency warning on Tuesday morning, including in Tulsa, while as much as five feet of water entered some homes in Hominy, to the northeast of the state.