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

The severe weather threat shifts east today where metro areas of Kansas City, St. Louis, and Little Rock are at risk. Flash flooding is also a major concern as the ground over this region is already soaked from previous storms. Pedram Javaheri has the latest.

Posted: May 21, 2019 11:00 AM
Updated: May 21, 2019 11:00 AM

Severe thunderstorms are raking and flooding parts of the central US on Tuesday, including in Oklahoma, where a tornado appeared to touch down near the Tulsa International Airport in the early morning.

At least 21 tornadoes were reported in parts of Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri and Arkansas from early Monday to Tuesday morning, the National Weather Service said -- and more are possible, especially in parts of Missouri and Arkansas.

No severe damage was immediately reported near the Tulsa airport, where a tornado was reported shortly after 6:30 a.m. CT Tuesday. But radar indicated that a tornado was sending debris into the air, CNN meteorologist Chad Myers said.

"That debris was ... very close and moving toward" the airport, Myers said.

Severe weather is possible Tuesday in the central Plains, Missouri, Illinois, Arkansas, and parts of Texas and Louisiana.

Damaging winds and hail appear to be the main threats, but more tornadoes are possible, especially in southern Missouri and northern Arkansas.

Water rescues in Oklahoma

Storms on Monday and Tuesday were causing serious flooding in parts of Oklahoma -- and more flooding is expected to develop in states to the east.

Flash flood emergencies were declared Monday night and Tuesday morning in the Tulsa area, where more than 6 inches of rain have fallen in some locations this week.

The National Weather Service in Tulsa urged people in those areas to move to higher ground as more heavy rainfall is expected.

"We're seeing reports of flooding and water rescues across (northeast) Oklahoma," state emergency management spokeswoman Keli Cain told CNN Tuesday morning.

Multiple Oklahoma highways are closed due to high water or storm debris. Authorities warned drivers to stay off roads in anticipation of additional flooding expected overnight.

Roads in Ponca City, in northern Oklahoma, have turned into rivers, with the local government urging drivers to stay away from the water.

The county emergency manager reported flooding in the city had begun to enter buildings, CNN affiliate KTUL reported. Several roads had also been closed off.

In Mangum, near the state's border with Texas, city officials said a tornado hit a house and ripped the roof off a two-story apartment building, according to CNN affiliate KOCO.

The police department asked residents to "not get out and drive around."

"On top of emergency crews trying to fix power lines and other damage from the tornado," the department said, "the roads are now flooding due to the intense rain."

"By trying to check out the weather you are only putting yourself and the crews in further danger."

Stillwater Public Schools, in northern Oklahoma, announced schools in the district will be closed Tuesday "due to excessive flooding."

More flooding to come in the Plains and the Midwest

Because storms have repeatedly hit the same areas recently, a serious flooding threat has developed in the Plains and the Midwest.

About 17 million people were under flood or flash flood watches early Tuesday, including in Oklahoma City and Tulsa; Wichita, Kansas; and Kansas City and St. Louis, Missouri.

Serious river flooding -- including along the already swollen Mississippi River -- also is expected in the central US as another 2 to 5 inches of rain are expected to fall over the region in the next few days.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 113081

Reported Deaths: 3231
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7850176
DeSoto685779
Harrison505083
Jackson445084
Rankin388186
Madison377993
Lee350779
Forrest299578
Jones287784
Washington255199
Lafayette245943
Lauderdale2418134
Lamar221238
Bolivar200177
Oktibbeha199354
Neshoba1831111
Lowndes176362
Panola169038
Leflore165187
Sunflower159749
Warren153655
Monroe147372
Pontotoc145819
Marshall139227
Lincoln138557
Pike137756
Copiah136236
Coahoma124736
Scott124729
Grenada121138
Yazoo120733
Simpson120449
Union116525
Tate114939
Leake114340
Holmes114160
Pearl River112259
Itawamba112125
Adams106743
Prentiss103719
Wayne99821
Alcorn98112
George97718
Covington95326
Marion93542
Tippah88121
Newton85227
Chickasaw83626
Tallahatchie83025
Winston82821
Tishomingo80041
Hancock79827
Attala78926
Clarke73450
Clay68321
Jasper67717
Walthall63627
Calhoun61912
Noxubee59617
Smith58916
Montgomery53523
Claiborne53316
Tunica52817
Yalobusha51914
Lawrence50714
Perry48623
Carroll47612
Greene46918
Stone46214
Humphreys42616
Amite42113
Quitman4196
Jefferson Davis40011
Webster37013
Wilkinson33520
Benton3255
Kemper32015
Sharkey28014
Jefferson27410
Franklin2373
Choctaw2046
Issaquena1074
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 154942

Reported Deaths: 2660
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson22861374
Mobile14468314
Tuscaloosa10148139
Montgomery9875196
Madison915094
Shelby720462
Lee649665
Baldwin647569
Marshall433049
Calhoun418960
Etowah418749
Morgan403635
Houston369232
DeKalb330229
Elmore314852
St. Clair287142
Limestone276530
Walker272293
Talladega261035
Cullman235724
Lauderdale214841
Jackson210015
Autauga202330
Franklin202131
Colbert196731
Russell19233
Blount189325
Dallas186227
Chilton184132
Escambia171929
Coffee171710
Covington169929
Dale165451
Chambers133643
Pike132313
Tallapoosa130587
Clarke130017
Marion106229
Butler100140
Barbour9979
Marengo99222
Winston91313
Geneva8527
Pickens82417
Lawrence82131
Randolph81216
Bibb81114
Hale74930
Clay72912
Cherokee72614
Lowndes70328
Monroe64010
Henry6396
Bullock63717
Washington63412
Crenshaw60230
Perry5836
Wilcox56212
Fayette56113
Conecuh55713
Cleburne5438
Macon52920
Sumter47021
Lamar4665
Choctaw38812
Greene34216
Coosa2023
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